Making informed decisions with prenatal testing and counseling

Even without a known family history of a genetic condition, pregnancies still face risks. From either or both parents being a carrier of a recessive condition to the presence of ultrasound abnormalities, your genetic counselor can help to educate and guide you—whether you’re pregnant or planning to start a family.

At Main Line Health in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, we provide prenatal genetic counseling services for women and couples who are planning a family, by providing information about the most appropriate screening and testing options available before and/or during pregnancy based on your personal and family history.

Patients are typically referred to have genetic counseling to review any of the following abnormal prenatal screening tests and additional test options:

  • First trimester screening or sequential screening
  • Noninvasive prenatal screening
  • Prenatal ultrasound
  • Carrier testing

In addition, genetic counseling may also be considered to discuss risks associated with:

  • Maternal age at delivery >35 years or paternal age >45
  • Prenatal exposures
  • Personal/family history of genetic disorder
  • Intellectual disability or Birth defects
  • Multiple miscarriages

What to expect at your prenatal genetic counseling appointment

Prenatal genetic counseling is a process that typically includes a review of and discussion about your personal health and pregnancy history as well as your family history and potential risk factors. Your prenatal genetic counselor will analyze this information and determine which, if any, tests may provide useful information for reproductive and family planning based on your unique case. Your prenatal genetic counselor will go over with you the benefits, limitations, safety and accuracy of all the testing options and results to help you and your partner make informed decisions about your reproductive life.

The Main Line Health Genetics and Risk Assessment Program provides services for cancer genetics, cardiovascular genetics and prenatal genetics. Services are available at eight Main Line Health locations throughout the region. To learn more about genetics services, call 484.565.GENE (4363).