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Ages & Stages

Obstetricians and gynecologists often provide genetic counseling, especially in the context of prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis.

As recommendations for screening for genetic conditions have become more widespread, obstetricians often discuss availability of carrier testing for conditions such as cystic fibrosis, diagnostic testing prenatally for Down syndrome and other conditions, or even testing for cancer susceptibility genes such as BRCA1/2.

Components of Genetic Counseling

  • Interpretation of family and medical histories to assess the chance of disease occurrence or recurrence
  • Education about inheritance
  • Testing
  • Management
    • The genetic counselor often is the individual who serves as the primary contact person for the family in the genetics clinic; someone they can easily reach with questions about their child’s diagnosis or about where to go for help with a particular issue.
  • Prevention
  • Resources and research
    • This may include identifying condition-specific support and advocacy groups, referring to other providers, or finding local resources to assist the family in navigating systems, such as the school system or financial systems.
  • Counseling to promote informed choices
  • Adaptation to the risk or condition
    • The genetic counselor also helps the family to adjust to the medical problems or diagnoses in the family and addresses issues regarding uncertainty.

Additional Resources


Last Updated
Adapted from Medical Genetics in Primary Practice (Copyright © 2013 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.