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Can Down syndrome be prevented?

Down syndrome cannot be prevented. It is a genetic abnormality that happens spontaneously. A pregnant woman's diet or activities have no bearing on it.  Although a woman of any age can have a baby with Down syndrome, there is a link between the probability of having a child with Down syndrome and the age of the mother. As a woman gets older, her odds of having a baby with Down syndrome get greater.

Some cases of Down syndrome can be prevented by being aware of the disease risk factors and also utilizing available screening tests. Mainly, the older the mother (more than 30 years old), the higher the chance of chromosomal errors and Down syndrome. Also, if there is a history of previous children with Down, then there is a much greater chance of having another affected child. Screening tests are now standard in most prenatal care and can give parents an idea of the likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities. There are exceptions to all the above, and so not all cases can be prevented.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.