The Ups of Down Syndrome

02 April 2019
7 min read
Volume 27 · Issue 4

Abstract

Parents who are told that their child has Down Syndrome face many challenges and preconceptions. Nicola Enoch from Positive About Down Syndrome shares how health professionals can help families

There is an assumption by many in the medical profession that a screen positive result for Down Syndrome equates to a termination. More than 90% of women who receive such a result take this option. I could have been one of them.

At 39 years old, pregnant for what I suspected would be my final time, I was worried and apprehensive. I believed I did not want a ‘Downs baby’. I'd not actually met anyone with Down Syndrome, but that was the point: we tested to make sure we didn't have them, we hoped our ‘risk’ wasn't too high and if we were unlucky and it was bad news, then there were options.

We had paid to have the nuchal translucency scan and been reassured at the private clinic that my results were OK, but my obstetrician clearly wasn't happy—on the front of my notes he'd written the risk in red biro and every time I saw him, he'd query it and the red ink ring became deeper and bigger. On a Friday afternoon at my 20 week scan, the sonographer advised that she thought that the baby might have talipes, which could be indicative of a chromosomal disorder such as Down Syndrome. I was automatically booked in for an amniocentesis the following week.

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