Pregnancy and Prenatal Testing
FOLATE can help prevent Neural Tube Defects
Neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly are partly caused by a lack of the B group vitamin called folate or folic acid in the mother i.e. in the pregnancy environment in which the baby is developing before birth.
Research has shown that 7 out of 10 (70%) cases of neural tube defects can be prevented by increasing the mother’s intake of folate prior to, and during, early pregnancy.
It is recommended that for all women, folate supplements (0.5mg per day) be taken for a least 1 month prior to possible conception and continued at that level for the first 3 three months of pregnancy.
Some couples have a higher than average risk of having a child with a neural tube defect. These include where the mother or father themselves have a neural tube defect, women who are insulin dependent diabetics and some women who are taking anticonvulsant medications. In these situations, it may be necessary to take a higher dose of folate and/or refer for genetic counselling.
Genetic screening for women planning a pregnancy
Women of particular ethnic backgrounds are at increased risk of carrying genetic changes that can cause illness in their offspring. GPs may feel it appropriate to conduct genetic testing on women or their partners planning a pregnancy.
A family history can guide GPs and other health practitioner about which tests may be useful to conduct on women planning a pregnancy. The following are examples of possible genetic testing options for couples planning a pregnancy
Online training for GPS and other health professionals
|First Trimester Screening
A 90 minute activity to assist GPs and other health professionals develop skills and strategies to facilitate discussion with women around first trimester screening.
Find Prenatal Testing Services
|Mothersafe is a NSW State-wide service that provides a comprehensive counselling service for women and their healthcare providers concerned about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Such exposures may include:|
MotherSafe Contact Numbers
Phone: 9382 6539 (Sydney Metropolitan Area)
Phone: 1800 647 848 (Non-Metropolitan Area)