For many women, DNA testing is a hot topic issue. However, regardless of your stance, DNA testing does merit a look through an objective lens. DNA testing provides several benefits to parents that can better prepare them for parenthood, and it can offer parents beginning advanced aged pregnancies peace of mind. In fact, DNA testing is highly recommended for women ages 35 years or older, those with a family history of genetic abnormalities, or those who have received a positive serum screening. Additional, and important, reasons to consider prenatal DNA testing include:
Keeps Mom Safe
Advanced aged pregnancies occurring in women 35 years and older are considered higher risk pregnancies. This isn’t because women 35 years and older aren’t strong enough, fit enough, or young enough to become mothers. Advanced aged pregnancies are mainly considered high risk because with increased age comes the increased likelihood of having a pregnancy with genetic abnormalities.
While genetic abnormalities typically affect the pregnancy itself, some can prove dangerous for the mothers carrying them – and it’s not necessarily the defect that proves dangerous. Many women who are surprised with a child with a genetic abnormality blame themselves, wondering if they did anything that may have caused the defect. Women may experience deep depression, and enter a spiral of self-chastising which isn’t healthy.
What women need to be aware of is that genetic abnormalities, such as trisomy 21 which causes Down syndrome, are not their fault. Age simply increases the likelihood of genetic abnormalities, and the process in which this occurs is natural and organic. Trisomies develop when chromosomes don’t properly replicate. They do not develop because you are a bad person. Prenatal DNA testing can help advanced age mothers be aware of their bodies and their pregnancies so that they can seek out additional support should it be necessary.
Helps You Plan
For some mothers, not learning the fetal gender of their baby prior to birth can be fun surprise. Nurseries can still be decorated in unisex patterns and colors and names can still be chosen, and everyone can wait in anticipation for the birth date to see whether or not a little girl or boy will be entering the home.
However, surprises aren’t always the best. Bringing a child with special needs home to a house that has not been prepared for him and her isn’t positive, and can be seen as downright neglectful. Not having the supplies needed to be successful parents will also make you more stressed which will affect your ability to parent, and make your transition into parenthood seem that much more difficult.
If your test results test positive for trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, you and your partner will have the time needed to take a couple special needs parenting courses, seek out organizations that support children with special needs and their parents, and prepare your home for your little one. Don’t leave yourself in a position to be blindsided. Knowledge is empowerment, and can help you make your pregnancy a successful one. Discuss your prenatal testing options with your physician to determine testing for trisomies is appropriate for your pregnancy.
DNA testing is a responsible and appropriate task in pregnancy that is beneficial for both mother and child. While many individuals are fearful of testing because they are afraid of their results indicating the worst, this is rare. DNA testing is simply a way to be proactive about your pregnancy, just like eating right and exercise are.