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Prenatal Genetic Counseling

Expectant parents often have concerns about their baby's health before it is born. At UC San Diego Health, our prenatal genetic counselor can help you learn valuable information about your baby's genetic health and whether to proceed with prenatal screening.

Prenatal genetic counseling is a professional assessment of risk factors that you and your partner's family might have, as well as your medical and pregnancy history. It defines risks for conditions that might be passed down to your baby and can identify underlying genetic causes for anything unusual in your pregnancy. 

Our Genetic Specialists

Our board-certified medical geneticists and genetic counselors are available to help you make important decisions about your current and future pregnancies. UC San Diego Health is nationally recognized for our screening program for chromosomal abnormalities and other birth defects. 

An expert medical team of perinatologists and genetic counselors is available to guide you during your pregnancy or pregnancy planning.

Who Should Consider Genetic Counseling

You may want to pursue pregnancy-related genetic counseling if you:

  • Want to review your and your partner's family history and screening options before conception
  • Will be age 35 or above (age 33 or above with a twin pregnancy) at the time of delivery
  • Have prenatal screening results and/or an ultrasound demonstrate an increased risk for birth defects or chromosome abnormality
  • Are a carrier of a genetic disease or may have an increased risk of carrying specific genetic disorders
  • Have a family history of intellectual disability, birth defects, genetic conditions or chromosome abnormalities
  • Are from a certain ethnic background with increased carrier frequency for specific disorders
  • Have a history of multiple unexplained miscarriages or infertility
  • Have a condition that may put the pregnancy at an increased risk for birth defects 
  • Have been exposed to an environmental agent that may put your baby at an increased risk for birth defects (e.g., alcohol or Accutane)

When to See a Genetic Counselor

Prenatal genetic counseling can occur:

  • Before pregnancy with preconception counseling and carrier testing of the parents
  • During pregnancy to help you and your partner decide if prenatal screening is needed

What to Expect

If warning signs are discovered during your prenatal genetic counseling, your physician will discuss your options with you. If you need additional prenatal screening, your doctor will explain the risks and benefits of each recommended screening. For more information, see Common Prenatal Tests & Screening

Appointments & Referrals


Sorrento Valley

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