Are you thinking about having a baby? It’s important to have a family health history completed at your next visit with your health care provider (HCP). What does this mean and why is it important?
Learning about your family’s health history before you get pregnant will give you more time to address any concerns and consider all of your options.
Knowing your family health history is important if anyone in your family or your partner’s family has had a birth defect, a developmental disability or a genetic disease (passed on through your genes) since it’s possible that your baby may be at a higher risk for this condition. Your HCP may recommend genetic counselling.
Some reasons for genetic counselling referrals:
- Having difficulty getting pregnant
- 2 or more previous miscarriages
- Had a previous child with a birth defect or genetic disease
- Had a baby who died before 1 year of age
- Are 35 years of age or older. There is also research that shows men age 40+ may have lower quality sperm, which increases the chance of having a baby with a genetic condition.
- Have an ethnic background where there is a greater chance of having a genetic condition
Asking questions and talking about your feelings and concerns with your HCP can help decrease any anxiety you may have.