New Pregnancy After Having a Child With Down Syndrome

Common Fears and How to Deal With Them

New Baby
MariaLauraMercapide

Many parents who decide to have another baby after having a child with Down syndrome claim to not have fears of any kind and to be ready to accept their new child whether or not he or she has Down syndrome. However, many parents do have very real and justified fears after having a child with Down syndrome.

Common Fears After Having a Child With Down Syndrome

These are some common fears that many parents face when deciding to have another child after having one with Down syndrome:

  • The fear of having another child with medical needs.
  • The fear of the suffering of the child and the family based on the health tendencies associated with Down syndrome.
  • The fear of having to reinvent their lives one more time to take care of two people with special needs and how challenging this may be.
  • Judgment from society, family, or close friends.
  • Economic stability and the tough decisions of giving up on personal dreams to take proper care of children with special needs.
  • Emotional stress that jeopardizes family personal relationships, including between spouses.
  • Accessibility to services of any kind, including education and health services.
  • The family wellbeing, including the wellbeing of other children who may have to give up some of their own needs and learn to understand that their siblings with special needs require more attention.

Prenatal Tests Can Be Tools

Amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are the most accurate prenatal tests available for detecting Down syndrome, each with a 98 to 99 percent accuracy rate.

CVS can be performed earlier in your pregnancy, between 10 and 13 weeks after your last period, while amniocentesis is done between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Parents who have done prenatal testing have expressed their discomfort at the reactions of judgmental people who believe that the test is done only to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy.

While this is true for some parents, for others, amnio is just a tool to know and get prepared for the future.

How to Face the Fears

If you're worried about having another baby after having a child with Down syndrome, here are some ways to minimize your fears:

  • Plan the pregnancy with maturity and responsibility, which is a must for any child. This is the best way to get prepared for a child with or without special needs.
  • As a couple, discuss and consider the decision ​to have or not have the prenatal test. This is an intimate conversation that should be respected.
  • Remember that even if you have an amnio and your child doesn't have Down syndrome, this doesn’t assure you a perfect parenting experience. There is no such thing, which is why deciding to have a baby has to be a commitment to unconditional love.

Sources:

American Pregnancy Association. Amniocentesis. Updated September 2, 2016.

American Pregnancy Association. Chorionic Villus Sampling: CVS. Updated September 2, 2016.

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