Genetic Disorders That Worry Pregnant Moms

Genetic Disorders

If you’re carrying a bundle of joy, then there’s no doubt that you’re proud and can’t wait to see what he or she would look like! However, there are a lot of things to expect from being a new parent, and unfortunately, there are some worries, namely genetic disorders.

These are health conditions that a baby is born with, coming from hereditary, environmental, or chromosomal issues. While this may scare you, learning all about it can help you figure out what you can do to prevent it from happening or how to care for your little one!

So read on as I show you the different genetic disorders that worry pregnant moms.

Risk Factors of Genetic Disorders

Babies who have genetic disorders or congenital issues are usually born to moms who have no risk factors at all! However, there are a few chances that having a child with an issue comes from the following factors:

  • Being pregnant when you’re over 35 years old
  • Having a family history of genetic disorders
  • Having past pregnancies which have had issues with congenital abnormalities
  • Being exposed to something known to cause health issues like infections or drugs
  • Using IVF or various procedures which manipulate the sperm and egg
  • When you are pregnant with more than one baby
  • Having a pre-pregnancy health condition like diabetes

That’s why it’s important to undergo genetic counseling, which would talk about your family history, medical history, and your overall health. A genetic counselor will offer information about your risks of bearing a child with a disorder, helping you learn about risks of conceiving or to guide you throughout your pregnancy.

While this is not a crucial thing to do, it’s best to undergo genetic counseling if:

  • You are older than 35 years old
  • Have a family history that includes chromosomal abnormalities or specific genetic disorders
  • You are a carrier of genetic or chromosomal disorders
  • You have had a stillbirth or recurrent miscarriages
  • You are exposed to illnesses or infections which can affect the baby
  • There is a result of your ultrasound or screening test which requires counseling

Genetic Disorders That Worry Pregnant Moms

There are two ways your little one can inherit disorders:

Chromosomal Disorders

These are caused by a missing or extra chromosome. This may cause a miscarriage, or if not, certain conditions which your baby can have, such as:

Down Syndrome

This is a common chromosomal abnormality which a child can survive, occurring in 1 of every 600 births. Chances are higher the older the mother is.

Patau or Edward’s Syndrome

These are less frequent than Down Syndrome, but with more severe symptoms and conditions. Children born with this have multiple health problems.

Turner Syndrome

This is a rare disorder that would affect height and fertility, though children with this can lead a healthy and long life.

Klinefelter Syndrome

This affects males, causing them to produce less testosterone. As a result, they would have learning disabilities and are usually tall.

Hereditary Disorders

These are disorders which are passed down from the parents or family to the child. Hereditary conditions are usually recessive, but there is still a chance a baby can get it if both parents are carriers of the disorder.

Cystic Fibrosis

This is a rare genetic disorder common in Europeans. It would affect the lungs or other organs of the body, affecting 1 in 3,500 white newborns.

Sickle-Cell Anemia

This is common among those of African descent, affecting red blood cells. This occurs in 1 in 70,000 Americans, but can affect 1 in 500 African-Americans.

Tay-Sachs Disease

This is an inherited disease which can affect those with Jewish descent. It causes damage to brain nerves and the spinal cord, with 1 in 320,000 babies born with it.

Beta Thalassemia

This disorder is common in those from the Mediterranean region, a blood disorder which leads to anemia. It affects how one makes red blood cells.

Detecting Abnormalities and What to Do

Now that you’re familiar with the different genetic disorders and risk factors, how can you detect these abnormalities while carrying a child?

There are many screening tests, such as:

  • Nuchal Translucency Scan
  • First and Second Trimester Blood Tests
  • Chronic Villus Sampling
  • Level II Ultrasounds
  • Amniocentesis

While the chances of any abnormal results are low, it may be devastating to find out if there are any. Depending on what disorder you have, it can either mean just a minor issue or it may be something that has a lifelong effect for your little one and the family.

There are tough decisions to make and it will be scary. But it’s best to take it slow and stick with the medical professional’s suggestions when doing so.

  • Make sure you talk with your genetic counselor and doctor, getting all the information about your diagnosis and what will happen to you and your little one. Find out what your options are, taking the time to process and make your choice.
  • It’s normal to feel anger and sadness. That’s why it’s best to talk to your partner and find support from family and friends to help you get through it.
  • If you choose to keep the child, then learn all about the condition to prepare for what’s to come. Check out available services that will help your child grow and develop.

Wrapping It Up

When you’re pregnant, it’s totally normal to worry about your baby’s health, especially if there are diseases that run in the family or if you’re an older mom. It may also stressful waiting for the result! However, do remember that genetic abnormalities only affect 3% of babies, and the rest come out healthy. That, and there are many treatment options to help!

Hopefully, this article on the genetic disorders that worry pregnant moms informed you on everything you need to know for your little one. So don’t wait any longer and find the best doctors and hospitals now!

If you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences on genetic disorders, then comment below. I would love to hear what you have to think.