What is a Genetic Counsellor?
Genetic counsellors are Masterís trained health professionals in the area of medical genetics and counselling. Genetic counsellors work as members of a healthcare team, usually working with a medical geneticist (doctors that specialize in the area of genetic conditions), providing individuals and families with information on the nature, inheritance, and implications of genetic disorders to help them make informed medical decisions.
When you go to see a genetic counsellor you can expect the appointment to be about an hour long. Sometimes women are booked for an ultrasound just prior to seeing a genetic counsellor. For example, women with an above screen-cut off prenatal screening result showing an increased chance for an open neural tube defect will first have and ultrasound and then meet their genetic counsellor. The ultrasound report will then be available to discuss during your appointment.
During your session the counsellor will explain in detail all of the information that has been gathered about your pregnancy including the prenatal screening result, any ultrasounds you may have had, and any family or personal health history that may be important. They will answer all of your questions and do their best to address all of your concerns. They will then explain all the options you have and help you make decisions that are right for you. Their goal is to make sure you are well informed when making these decisions and arrange for testing or consultations with other health care providers as needed depending on your decisions.
What is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Doctor?
Maternal-Fetal Medicine doctors, also called Perinatologists, specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and ongoing care of pregnant mothers if they or their babies have an increased chance of a health condition. A womanís health care provider will refer a woman to a maternal fetal medicine doctor when her medical history, or screening, or diagnostic testing during pregnancy increases the chance or diagnoses a health condition in either mother or baby.
Some examples of why a woman is referred to a maternal fetal medicine doctor include, if a woman has a medical condition needing extra care during pregnancy, like lupus, a chronic autoimmune condition.
When you see a maternal fetal medicine doctor different tests or screens, may be offered depending on why you were referred to see this specialist. These diagnostic tests or screens are to monitor the health of mother and baby, and perhaps diagnose a health condition.