Pregnancy is the most beautiful era in a woman’s life. Once a lady is pregnant, she observes a life full of joy, hope & anxiety.
If its first time pregnancy of a woman, she may be surprised at the number and variety of prenatal tests she has to undergo. Blood tests, urine tests, monthly medical exams, screening tests, and family history tracking – each helps to assess the health of the mother and the baby and to predict any potential health risks. Genetic testing should also be done to ensure that the newborn does not suffer from any genetic disorder.
Some of the major familiar genetic disorders are:
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Sickle cell disease
- Fragile X Syndrome
- Tay-Sachs disease (a fatal disease affecting the central nervous system)
The following are important steps to help you get mentally ready for the healthiest pregnancy possible:
- Plan of action: Learn about genetic testing or carrier genetic test. A simple blood test of both the partners in a couple can determine the risk of having a child with genetic disorders. Most genetic diseases are known as “recessive disorders,” which means that each parent needs to pass along one affected gene to the baby in order for the child to be affected. In other words, if you screen positive for a genetic abnormality but your partner does not, your child will not inherit the condition. And even if you both screen positive, there’s 25 percent chance that your baby will have the disease.
- Visit your doctor and get prenatal genetic counseling: Genetic counseling is the process of evaluating the medical records of the parents, undergoing genetic tests, evaluating the results of this investigation and helping parents understand and reach to a conclusion about what to do next.
- Get your family history: According to ministry of health statistics, genetic disorders are the fourth largest cause of death in UAE, due to high percentage of consanguineous marriage (people marry their first, second cousins) in Arab Countries. Therefore it is important for you to get well versed with your family history before you plan your pregnancy.
- Go for CGT: Each year, many parents are surprised by the birth of a baby with some genetic disease. Igenomix has developed an advanced carrier genetic test (CGT) before pregnancy, which can reveal whether a couple is at risk of having a baby with one of these serious diseases. According to Igenomix, CGT allows us to identify couples in which both are carriers. This can prevent serious genetic disorders which do not have any treatment and some of them are fatal too. A positive result means the presence of one or more mutations in the individual. In that case, the test should be carried out also in the other member of the couple. If both are carriers of a mutation in the same single gene, there is high risk of having an affected child. In these cases, there are options like Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) to have a healthy child. It is also possible to conceive naturally and resort to prenatal diagnosis.