Down Syndrome

I'm 45 and six weeks pregnant with my fourth child. Have any studies been done on the high incidence of Down syndrome with older mothers, which take into account factors such as maternal nutrition, socio-economic factors, etc.?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

I'm sure you are up to date on all the predictive testing that can be done -- AFP, chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis and triple screen (AFP, estriol, hCG).

You have been given the figures, I'm also sure. Yes, the risks do go up appreciably, but risks of other fetal defects don't go up as much with increasing maternal age.

I believe the incidence of Down syndrome is not dependent on nutrition or socio-economic status.

Two of my friends have children with Down syndrome. As soon as they found out, they hit the support groups and data bases. Today, these children are the joys of their families. I am not underestimating the extreme shift their lives have had to take, but they both live with the notion that they are not given anything that they could not handle.

If possible, I would recommend that you see a genetic counselor. They can be found usually at large university settings, but they are a valuable resource.

My best to you.

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