What Exactly Is Genetic Counseling?
By J. Gabriel Guajardo, M.D.
April 09, 2020
Category: Health Care
Tags: Genetic Counseling  

Whether you are pregnant or thinking about having children soon, genetic counseling can be helpful. Genetic counseling can be used to assess the possibility of the baby being born with a specific genetic condition or birth defect. Being fully informed helps parents know what to expect so they can better prepare for any special needs the baby might have. Dr. J. Gabriel Guajardo provides genetic counseling and pregnancy screenings at our office in Brownsville.

How Genetic Counseling Can Help

Whether it is done prior to becoming pregnant or during pregnancy, genetic counseling can help in several ways. Part of the process is determining the chances of conceiving a child who might be born with a specific disease, birth defect, or genetic condition. With this information in hand, genetic counseling can help parents understand what options exist so they can make an informed decision about their next steps to be best prepared to meet the needs of the baby.

Genetic testing and screening typically plays a major role in the genetic counseling process. At our clinic in Brownsville, pregnancy screenings are performed during the first and second trimesters. Part of the genetic counseling process is helping you understand the results of any tests or screenings that are performed. We can connect you with a variety of support resources for helping you understand how to raise a child with a specific genetic condition. Resources can include referrals to counseling services, advocacy networks, and other sources of support.

Reasons for Genetic Counseling

There can be several reasons why someone might seek genetic counseling. One reason is that a particular condition runs in the family. Genetic counseling can assess the likelihood of that same condition affecting any future children that are conceived. In addition to heredity, other reasons for undergoing genetic counseling include:

  • A history of infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths
  • Family members, including other children, with a genetic condition or birth defect
  • Receiving a diagnosis during pregnancy that the baby has a genetic condition or birth defect
  • Concerns about pregnancy risks associated with a parent’s lifestyle or a health condition
  • Concerns about pregnancy risks associated with a parent’s age
  • Abnormal results from a pregnancy screening or ultrasound
  • Exposure to certain chemicals or medications during pregnancy

Genetic counseling can help parents and parents-to-be understand the chances of having a child with special needs due to a genetic condition or birth defect and plan accordingly. If you are interested in undergoing genetic counseling before or during pregnancy, contact our office in Brownsville, TX, to schedule an appointment with Dr. Guajardo by calling (956) 350-4821.