Although the risk of it happening again is very low, the fear of having another baby with Patau’s Syndrome or Edwards’ Syndrome is great among parents. To ease your fears it is helpful to seek the advice of a genetic counsellor on the risk of recurrence. (See Genetic Counselling in Chapter 3).
The decision to have another baby is a personal one. If you are caring for a baby or child with Patau’s or Edwards’ Syndrome you will have to take into consideration the extra work that a new baby will bring. However, many parents in this situation successfully embark on another pregnancy while caring for their baby or child who has a trisomy.
If your baby has died, it is important to give yourself time to mourn your baby and to come to terms with what has happened. A new baby will not necessarily ease the feelings of pain and loss that you are experiencing. It is important to welcome a new baby as a new life for his or her own sake.
Doctors often recommend that you wait about three months before trying to conceive again. There are many things to consider before making the decision to try for another baby. Some parents are desperate to try again as soon as possible, while others need more time. For others, trying again is a healing process in itself.
If there is a genetic factor that puts you at increased risk of conceiving a baby with a particular condition, this may also play an important part in your decision. Your Doctor may refer you for genetic counselling if appropriate to the National Centre for Medical Genetics, Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin, Dublin l2. The Prenatal Diagnosis Clinic at the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin 1 provides Antenatal screening and diagnostic testing services in conjunction with the Genetics Centre and will see patients from around the country by referral by a Doctor.
A subsequent pregnancy is always a stressful and worrying time for both parents as they are more aware of all the things that can go wrong. The father may be suffering from his own anxieties, worrying about his partner and the stress she is under and he may also have doubts about the successful outcome of another pregnancy. Even when another pregnancy progresses normally, it may be difficult to be positive. The prospect of another pregnancy is often very frightening, it may bring back painful memories. Support and counselling can be arranged through the Pre-Natal Diagnosis Clinic and is available in most hospitals.
Once you have decided to try for another baby, you might like to start taking special care of yourself. This is sometimes called preconceptual care. Your general health
before and around conception is important, both for yourself during the pregnancy, and for your baby’s development.
Contact your Doctor as soon as you think or know you are pregnant. This will help you to have the best possible care for you and your baby.
This pregnancy is likely to be emotionally difficult for you. You may be full of fear, relief and hope all at the same time. Your GP, Midwife and Social Worker will be able to help with these emotional difficulties.
Some parents value being cared for at the same hospitals and clinics, and perhaps even by the same staff as during their previous pregnancy. You might want to think about whether this is important to you, and ask for the care that you want.
In another pregnancy you may like to avail of an early reassurance scan. This can be arranged in the Pre- Natal Diagnosis Clinic and will allow you an opportunity to discuss any testing you wish to avail of at an early opportunity. You may be offered specific tests depending on what was found to be wrong with your baby before.
You may find it helpful to speak to parents who have had a subsequent successful pregnancy.
S.O.F.T. will be able to put you in contact with others who have experienced a similar situation.
Parents say that a new baby restores their sense of confidence in themselves and their future.