Programs that utilize any of a variety of techniques to detect fetal abnormalities prior to the birth of the child. Results of the tests can be used to manage the remaining weeks of pregnancy, plan for possible complications in the birth process, plan for care of the newborn infant, decide whether to continue the pregnancy and/or determine whether fetal treatment is required.
Programs that apply what is known about human genetics to advise prospective parents who are concerned about the recurrence of hereditary problems or abnormalities in their offspring or for others (adults and children) who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions and need information about their own prospects for health. Genetic counselling is also routinely offered to women, usually age 35 and older, who are considering a first pregnancy. Genetic counsellors identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family. They also provide supportive counselling to families, serve as patient advocates and refer individuals and families to community or provincial support services.
Programs that provide comprehensive health care services including a risk assessment, health promotion and counselling to maximize the health of women of childbearing age before they become pregnant. The objective of preconception care is to eliminate (or at least reduce the incidence of) infertility, recurrent spontaneous abortions, premature births, perinatal death, low birth weight and birth defects by identifying and reducing a woman's reproductive risks which may include HIV infection, hepatitis B, rubella, toxoplasmosis, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, use of some types of medication, electromagnetic radiation, nutritional/weight status, lifestyle risks such as smoking, alcohol use or substance abuse and adverse genetic factors. Preconception care is particularly important for women with chronic health conditions such as diabetes or disabilities.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.