UT Health Physicians

Preconception and Prenatal Genetic Counseling

Related to: OB genetics, Maternal fetal medicine, High risk pregnancy care

Pregnant couple


UT Health Physicians team of genetic counselors provide an important piece of comprehensive perinatal care, ensuring parents are informed and supported regarding genetic risks in pregnancy. Genetic counselors have extensive high-level training in genetics, medicine, education, statistics and psychology. With their unique education and experience, genetic counselors provide families with information and support in many different areas of medicine.

Preconception and prenatal genetic counseling focus on potential risks during pregnancy or for a newborn. When there is a personal or family history of a genetic condition or birth defect, genetic counseling can help a family understand the risks of the condition being passed on. Genetic testing can help clarify that risk before or during pregnancy, to help families be prepared. Genetic counselors do not try to sway parents toward any particular decision or plan. 

Genetic counseling helps parents cope with the new information, understand test results and the most up-to-date options and treatments, and aids them in making a plan for their pregnancy care with the rest of their medical team. Their goal is to empower families to feel confident making health care decisions that are best for them and their family.


People may be referred for genetic counseling for many reasons. Some of the most common are:

  • Preconception counseling (genetic counseling before pregnancy)
  • Advanced maternal age (≥ 35 years old) or advanced paternal age (≥ 40 years old) at the time of delivery.
  • A personal or family history of birth defects
  • A personal or family history of genetic disease
  • An ultrasound abnormality identified during pregnancy
  • An abnormal genetic test result before or during pregnancy
  • Consanguinity (parents who are related to each other)
  • High-risk ethnicity (Ashkenazi Jewish, French Canadian, Cajun, etc.)
  • Recurrent miscarriage
  • Exposure to a medication or other substance during pregnancy


Make an appointment

For appointments or more information, call 210-450-9500.