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Pregnancy and childbirth | Prenatal screening

Chromosomal issues

Screening for chromosomal problems

Many people have heard of Down syndrome, a problem in which the baby carries an extra chromosome. The risk for Down syndrome is generally small, though it does increase as a woman ages. The risk for other serious chromosomal abnormalities also increases with age, but screening tests that look at factors other than age are important as well.

All women may undergo screening, regardless of age. However, we recommend that women over 35 have more detailed genetic counseling to understand their increased risk and their options before deciding between a screening and a diagnostic test.

If you have questions or believe that your pregnancy is at a higher risk for a problem such as Down syndrome or a genetic issue, please ask your physician to refer you for genetic counseling, where these issues can be discussed.