Your pregnancy and baby guide : Having a baby that might be born with a condition

If you continue with your pregnancy after screening has found something, you might need extra care.


The care you and your baby need depends on the condition they have.

Support is available for any condition your baby has.

Important

Speak to a doctor or midwife to get as much information as possible about your baby's condition and what treatment they might need.

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Your pregnancy care

You'll be offered all the regular checks and tests everyone has when they're pregnant.

And you'll be cared for by a team that's specially trained to support you and your baby's needs.

But depending on your baby's condition and what's available in your area, you may need to:

  • go for extra scans or appointments
  • see specialist doctors (obstetricians or paediatricians)
  • travel further to a specialist hospital for appointments

You can bring your partner, a family member or friend with you.

It might help to write down any questions you have before you go.

You could ask things like:

  • Will we need extra support during the birth?
  • Will my baby need treatment straight after birth?
  • Where will this treatment take place?
  • Will my baby need to stay in hospital?
  • If they do, how long will that be for?
  • How will my baby develop?

Your birth plan

Everyone's who's pregnant can make a birth plan. You'll usually talk this through with a midwife early in your pregnancy.

You can talk about:

  • who you want with you during labour
  • your options around pain relief
  • your positions for labour and birth
  • where's best to have your baby
  • what care you and your baby may get

Find out more about making a birth plan

But depending on your baby's condition, you may need to make changes to your plan.

The charity SOFT can help you with making a birth plan if your baby might be born with a condition.

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Giving birth

You may have a higher chance of going into labour early. Or your baby may need more support when they're born.

This may mean you'll need to:

  • give birth at a specialist hospital with intensive and special care baby units – read more about the different levels of neonatal care
  • give birth at hospital in a unit led by a doctor (obstetrician)
  • have a caesarean instead of a vaginal birth
  • have your baby earlier than your due date (by being induced or having a caesarean)

Speak to a doctor or midwife to find out your options.

The team are there to make sure you and your baby have all the support you need.

Read about what happens during labour and giving birth

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After your baby is born

What happens after your baby is born depends on their condition and how severe it is.

Your baby may need to:

  • stay in hospital for a while after they're born
  • have further treatment from a specialist doctor
  • have further tests and checks as they get older

A doctor or midwife will explain the next steps for your baby's care.

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Support is available

It can help to speak to:

  • your partner, family or friends
  • your midwife or specialist doctor
  • a local support group
  • charities for your baby's condition
  • a counsellor – you do not need a referral from your GP (find out more about how to see a counsellor)

Charities that can help

Antenatal Results & Choices (ARC)

Down's Syndrome Association

Home Start – for families with young children that need support

Shine – for families affected by spina bifida and hydrocephalus

Sickle Cell Society

SOFT – for families affected by Patau's and Edwards' syndromes

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