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  Risk Counselling
I am really dreading the results of my blood tests because I want this baby so badly and I don’t know how I will cope if there is a problem. What steps can I take to calm me down?

Since the vast majority of babies are born healthy, the chances are that you do not have anything to worry about. However, this is a scary and trying time of your life and you need all the support you can get. The testing that allows us to detect any problems early on in the pregnancy can be a nerve wracking process, and if you are really fearful it could be worth asking for counselling. A trained councellor will be qualified to address all your fears and worries, and will in all likelihood reassure you that most mother experience similar issues.

Should the initial screening tests, or any later indications, lead your doctor to require further tests such as amniocentesis, this would also be a good time to ask for counselling to help you cope with this situation.

There are high risk categories of mothers who would be more likely to require testing, and thus also counselling. These include:
• Women over 35 years of age
• Couples who are related to each other, such as cousins
• One or both of the pregnant couple are known to have genetic defects
• Families who already have a child with a birth defect such as spina bifida or Down’s Syndrome
• Families at risk of having the HIV infection
• Women who are have had or risk having an infectious disease such as chicken pox, German measles or taxoplasmosis
• Women on long term medication which may put the foetus at risk
• Women with a history of birth complications, still births, or miscarriage
• Women who have been exposed to X-rays during early pregnancy

Along with genetic counseling, these discussions will help you make informed decisions with regard to the health of your baby. You may be strongly anti abortion and of the opinion that you will bear your baby to full term whatever the situation. You are perfectly within your rights to do this but should still consider taking up the option of counseling. This is a way to prepare yourselves in a realistic way for life after the baby is born.

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