When to start prenatal counseling for congenital anomalies
It’s normal for parents to experience high levels of stress and anxiety upon receiving a prenatal diagnosis, which is why it’s so important they receive support immediately. Several studies have shown that prenatal counseling, received as soon as possible after parents learn of their child’s diagnosis, can have a positive impact on anxiety.
“Most parents preferred to attend counseling as soon as possible after prenatal diagnosis to reduce the stress associated with waiting and facilitate timely decisions about pregnancy termination if indicated.”
— Kasparian, Marokakis, et al.
A few expressed a need to have time to digest and process information before beginning counseling.
In 3 different studies from 2 different groups, all patients were provided counseling in a multidisciplinary format.
All found that parents reported lower anxiety after counseling compared with before.
Counseling was made available first by a knowledgeable health professional who provided detailed information on their child’s diagnosis. A preference for medical-free jargon was noted.
Additional Types of Helpful Information:
— Written and web-based resources
— Support services
— Visual resources
Different types of counseling can help ease parents’ anxiety in different ways. Upon receiving a diagnosis, contacting a genetic counselor may help families better understand their child’s condition and identify its origins and inheritance pattern.
A GENETIC COUNSELOR
- Interprets family medical histories
- Assesses chances of disease occurrence or recurrence
- Educates family members about disease management, prevention and medical research
- Helps families make informed choices about their and their child’s future