What is a Genetic Counselor and How Can they Help Me?

By on August 28, 2020

Genetics is a complicated subject, but many parents have concerns about whether they may pass down a genetic condition to their child. If this sounds like you, scheduling an appointment with a genetic counselor can help you develop the best plan for your pregnancy.  

What is a Genetic Counselor? 

A genetic counselor is a health care professional who discusses topics related to genetics with patients. At Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, our patients typically discuss results of prenatal genetic tests with their genetic counselor. A genetic counselor holds a master’s degree in human genetics and counseling. This gives them a comprehensive understanding of the complex topic of genetics and enables them to explain these subjects to patients while guiding them to make decisions regarding their health and pregnancies.  

Who Can Benefit from Genetic Counseling? 

Any patient who is pregnant or planning to get pregnant and has questions about a disease or condition that runs in their family, including family histories of inherited disorders or birth defects, can benefit from genetic counseling. Genetic counseling patients generally have already received abnormal results after genetic screening or a diagnostic tests, and are now ready to discuss those results with the counselor.  

Patients who are concerned about whether their lifestyle, medical history, age, or job may affect their baby can also seek genetic counseling. For example, if you are concerned about whether exposure to environmental agents, chemicals, or medication could affect your baby, you may benefit from a genetic counseling appointment. Women who are pregnant over the age of 35 or who have had multiple unexplained miscarriages or early infant deaths may also consider genetic counseling.  

What is Prenatal Genetic Counseling Like? 

During your prenatal genetic counseling appointment, your genetic counselor will review your relevant medical history and ask you to complete a genetic questionnaire. They will then create a family tree which includes any medical conditions that could be inherited. If you have already completed genetic testing, your genetic counselor will also review these results.  

Your genetic counselor will then explain the risks of your child having a medical condition or birth defect. You can ask any questions you may have, and together with your genetic counselor you may then develop a plan regarding any further testing and future pregnancies.  

Our Geneticist   

Dr. Tamar Goldwaser is board certified OB/GYN and Clinical Geneticist. She earned a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior at Barnard College, and her M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Goldwaser has completed residencies in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and in Medical Genetics at Montefiore Medical Center. At Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, she performs genetic consultations as well as prenatal ultrasounds and diagnostic procedures.  

Schedule an Appointment  

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Goldwaser, call Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates at (212) 235-1335 or request an appointment through our online form 

Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!