Importance of Genetic Counseling in Pregnancy

The abnormalities in children and certain diseases in the adults are because of the genes inherited from the parents. These genetic disorders are common and families with these disorders have to be offered support and advice.

This onus lies on the genetic counselors. What is genetic counseling? It is a procedure followed where valuable advices are given to the families having genetic disorders regarding their nature and effects.

Aspects of genetic counseling:

The genetic counseling involves two important aspects. Firstly, the genetic counselors have to evaluate the risk of the disorder. It means to know the seriousness of the disease or disorder and the consequences of the disorder. This aspect of counseling is called diagnostic.

Secondly, genetic counseling involves the support which has to be provided to the families with disorders and diseases. The support may be anything from advice and help provided to directing the families to suitable community centre or State support centre.

Genetic counseling is given at various stages of man’s life. It may be during the time when individuals decide to marry or after becoming couples. It is given to people who have a certain disorder trait in their genes. Advice like whether to go for a baby or when to get pregnant is given by the counselors at this stage.

After the mother has conceived, the genetic disorders or deformities   may be detected in the fetus during the ultrasound. At this time parents should seek genetic counseling. Even if the mother has conceived after 35 years of age, it is better to go for a genetic counseling.

Post natal counseling is given to mothers after delivery, if deformities are detected during birth.

Certain children show growth retardation symptoms. It may be mental retardation or physical retardation, once such disorders are noticed in their children; they are suggested to seek genetic advice.

The carriers of certain traits like AIDS and other diseases lie passive and shown only when the child attains his adulthood. Any hereditary disease requires genetic counseling. The incubation period of many of the diseases is long term. They may vary from few months to years. Thus when a patient is found positive for certain disease caused by bacteria, genetic counseling should be taken.