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For Patients and Families

 

Prenatal Diagnosis

Preparing Yourself for the Best Possible Start

When you receive a prenatal diagnosis that your child may have a craniofacial condition, there are several steps you can take to prepare yourselves for parenthood and to give your baby the best possible start in life.

First, be aware that prenatal diagnosis is not exact and it is not always possible to predict what problems, if any, your child will have. When a diagnosis of a craniofacial condition is made, it is important to seek out a craniofacial team so you'll be prepared when the baby arrives. Prenatal interdisciplinary care teams are also available in some large children's hospitals.

Gather as much information about your child's expected condition as you can. By learning the medical terms, you'll be better able to communicate with members of your child's team. Remember that parents learn at different paces, so be patient with each other. It is natural to wonder about your baby's appearance and social and intellectual capabilities. Learn what you can.

Many expectant parents decide to share news of their child's situation with close friends and family members. The support of others can be invaluable. Always remember that the coming birth is a joyous event, as much now as before the diagnosis, and that you are learning more about your soon-to-arrive baby.

As the delivery date approaches, discuss the diagnosis and birthing options with your obstetrician and staff. Make sure the delivery room is notified in advance. Also find out what procedure the hospital follows in the case of a nonstandard birth. In some birthing centers, babies with problems are immediately taken to an evaluation area; in others, once the medical staff is sure the baby can breathe properly, the parents and their new baby may spend time together.

Because of the added challenge a baby with a craniofacial condition may present, it is a good idea to arrange for some help when the baby is brought home. That will make the transition to home life easier for you and your new baby.