There is no cure for Down’s syndrome and it cannot be prevented. But you can detect whether your child is likely to have Down’s syndrome by getting certain tests done such as blood tests (on mother’s blood), ultrasound to measure
There is no cure for Down’s syndrome and it cannot be prevented. It is a genetic disorder which occurs due to the presence of an extra chromosome 21. But certain tests done during pregnancy can detect whether the unborn baby is likely to have Down’s syndrome.
Antenatal screening and diagnostic tests
Experts recommend that all pregnant women, no matter what their age, should be advised to have screening for genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome. Screening can help to identify whether the baby is likely to have Down’s syndrome. But screening tests are not 100% accurate. If antenatal screening indicates that your baby is at risk of Down’s syndrome (or any other condition), your doctor will do certain other tests to confirm whether or not your baby has the condition. Some tests which are done include:
- Ultrasound to measure nuchal translucency (fluid collected behind neck). All babies tend to collect fluid behind the neck, but the amount of fluid in babies with Down’s syndrome tends to be more.
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) a small sample of the placenta is taken for testing to diagnose Down’s syndrome in the baby.
- Amniocentesis a small sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the foetus in the womb) is taken for testing to diagnose Down’s syndrome.
If testing during pregnancy is positive for Down’s syndrome (confirms that the baby has Down’s syndrome), you can discuss with your doctor about the implications of having a child with the disease. This can help you to make an informed decision about whether to terminate or proceed with the pregnancy.
Care of child with Down’s syndrome
If you know that you are likely to have a child with Down’s syndrome, you can prepare for providing special care for the baby’s needs by:
- Finding a paediatrician (a doctor who specialises in diagnosis and treatment of disease in children), with experience in caring for children with Down’s syndrome.
- Learning about the condition this can help you to understand what to expect and how you can help your child.
- Joining a support group sharing your problems and dilemmas with other parents of children with Down syndrome can make it easier for you to manage difficult feelings.
Read more articles on Down Syndrome
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