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Many people have never heard the term “genetic counseling.” Some people have heard about genetic counseling and associate it with hearing bad or scary news.
In reality, genetic counseling is about conversation, education, guidance and support. It is about helping a woman feel empowered when it comes to her pregnancy and her health, as well as the health of her baby.
A genetic counselor is a healthcare provider who has advanced educational training in medical genetics and counseling. Prenatal genetic counselors specialize in helping women and their families understand medical genetic information as it relates to the health of a pregnancy or a future pregnancy.
There are many reasons that a woman might visit or be referred to a genetic counselor, such as:
After gathering information about family and medical history, a genetic counselor can help a woman decide what type of prenatal genetic testing is best for her, or if she needs testing at all.
While genetic tests can provide information about the health of a current or future pregnancy, genetic counselors are uniquely trained to discuss the benefits, risks and limitations of genetic testing. They are also trained to help women determine whether or not the information from genetic testing will be helpful to them.
When a woman decides to undergo testing, a genetic counselor explains the results and discusses if additional tests are needed.
In most cases, genetic counselors offer reassurance that a current or future pregnancy will be healthy. However, when complications arise, the information and perspective received from a genetic counselor can be invaluable as expectant parents prepare for the birth of their child. With the help of the genetic counselor, parents can use the rest of the time before their baby’s birthday to:
The goal of the genetic counseling team at WakeMed Physician Practices (WPP) – Maternal Fetal Medicine is to ensure parents feel supported when it comes to welcoming and caring for their child by connecting them with the appropriate information, specialists and resources.
The genetic counseling team at WPP – Maternal Fetal Medicine provides consultation to women who are pregnant, and we are also happy to meet with women who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss or who have concerns about a future pregnancy.
Before becoming pregnant, it is important to think about your health and any factors that might affect a baby’s development. Therefore, consider these things first before attempting to conceive:
For more information on the genetic counseling services available through WakeMed Physician Practices – Maternal Fetal Medicine, visit our website or call 919-350-6002 (Raleigh Campus location) or 919-235-6433 (North Campus location).
Cheryl Dickerson, MS, CGC, is a genetic counselor at WakeMed Physician Practices – Maternal Fetal Medicine. Read more about genetic counseling.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610