Learning About Down Syndrome Detected During Pregnancy

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Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by having an extra chromosome. It affects a baby's development. Children who have this condition may share similar features and have certain health issues. As they grow, they often learn to talk later than other children and have some intellectual disability. But with extra care and support, most people with Down syndrome can live full, healthy lives.

When you find out that your child has Down syndrome, you might have a wide range of feelings. You might also have a lot of questions. Your doctor can help answer your questions and connect you with resources to help you learn more.

What can you expect?

While you are pregnant, you are thinking about what the future might be for your baby and your family. Having a child with Down syndrome can fill a home with love. But it is also a challenge that many parents may not be prepared for.

Carrying a baby with Down syndrome increases the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. But in most cases, your prenatal care won't change.

You may decide you want to continue the pregnancy and raise your child. You may decide you want to give the child up for adoption. Or you may decide to end the pregnancy.

It may help to talk to people who have made each of these choices. Your doctor may be able to help you meet with families who are raising a child with Down syndrome, families who chose to give a child up for adoption, or families who terminated a pregnancy because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.

Whatever you decide, remember that every case is different. And only you can know what is best for your family. There is no "right" or "wrong" choice. It is a personal choice, based on your own values and beliefs.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.