Skip Navigation LinksKnowing-Family-History

Prenatal Screening Program

A family with a mother holding a baby

Knowing Family Health History During Pregnancy

There are thousands of kinds of birth defects. Some are inherited and others are not. If you are concerned, you can meet with a genetic counselor to review your risks and testing options.

Some diseases that might cause you to see a genetic counselor if others in your family had them are the following:

  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Neural Tube Defects
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart Defects
  • Cleft Lip or Palate
  • Cancer

Also, some conditions are more common based on racial or ethnic background. For example, anyone can be a carrier of Tay-Sachs disease. But, the disease is most common among people with Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. Sickle cell disease is more common among people whose ancestors come from Africa, the Mediterranean region, Middle East, and South Asia, but anyone can have it.

If you see a genetic counselor

The genetic counselor will speak to you about any increased risks for birth defects based on your family history. They will also discuss potential problems for your pregnancy to help you decide on your screening or testing options. Sometimes, no testing is needed. What you choose to do after counseling is up to you.

Patient billing

If you get prenatal screening and the test results show an increased chance for a health condition, the PNS Program will provide genetic counseling and other follow up services at no extra charge to help you decide on next steps. But if you want genetic counseling before screening and it is not provided by your prenatal care provider's office, it may be up to you or your insurance to pay for it. Your prenatal care provider's office can provide a referral.

Information for Individuals

Information for Providers

Page Last Updated :