Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sickle cell and thalassaemia in pregnancy - cystic fibrosis and cervical cancer screening

Sickle cell and thalassaemia in pregnancy: Sickle cell and thalassaemia disorders are inherited blood conditions that mainly affect the way oxygen is carried around the body. You will be offered a blood test early in pregnancy for thalassaemia and asked for facts about your and your baby’s father’s family origin to decide if any other tests are required. These facts will help your midwife or doctor to offer the correct tests and will also help to give you the correct results of the test. It is very important that you tell the midwife, doctor or person doing the test if you think you or your baby’s father have an ancestor who came from outside northern Europe (for example, someone who is Italian, Maltese, Portuguese, Spanish, Indian, Chinese, African or African-Caribbean).
Healthy people can be carriers of sickle cell or thalassaemia without knowing it and can pass it on to their children. It’s possible for you or your baby’s father to be carriers of these disorders without it affecting your baby at all. Carriers cannot develop the disorders, but if both of you are carriers there is a risk that your baby could have a sickle cell or thalassaemia disorder. Your midwife or doctor will discuss the implications for your baby. For further facts contact the Sickle Cell Society or the UK Thalassaemia Society for more details.
Cystic fibrosis and pregnancy  
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects vital organs in the body, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. The sweat glands are usually also affected. The disease is inherited and both parents must be carriers of the gene variation for their baby to be born with cystic fibrosis. Testing is offered if there is a family history of cystic fibrosis.
Cervical cancer screening   
Cervical smears detect early changes in the cervix (the neck of the uterus), which could later lead to cancer if left untreated. Routine smears are only offered to women over 25.
If you are due to have a cervical smear (if you have not had one in the last three years), you will probably be told to wait until three months after your baby is born unless you have a history of abnormal smears. This is based on guidance by the NHS cervical screening program.

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