Looking After Yourselves
Feeding Your Baby
Your Baby's Development
There may be many questions racing around
your head, some of which youre too scared to ask. Other
parents say these were some of their first questions.
What is Down syndrome?
is Down Syndrome?
Down syndrome is a life-long condition that causes delays in
learning and development.
Why does Down syndrome happen?
Down syndrome occurs because your babys cells contain
an extra chromosome number 21.
Is it my fault?
Down syndrome is never anyones fault; it just happens.
It has never been linked with particular foods or actions
or pollution, it occurs in all races and religions.
Doesnt Down syndrome just happen
to older mothers?
The probability of a mother having a baby with Down syndrome
increases with the mothers age.
1 in 1500 probability age under 30
1 in 100 probability age 40
But, most babies with Down syndrome are born
to mothers under 30 because this is the largest group of mothers
How can doctors tell my baby has Down
Doctors can usually tell our children have Down syndrome when
they examine them.
Our babies are usually floppy (have
hypotonia) and have very flexible joints.
Usually our babies have a face that looks flattened and
excess skin on the back of their necks.
They often have slanted eyes and small ears.
They may have a single crease across their palms and
a gap between the big toe and the second toe.
Your baby will look like the rest of your
family, the Down syndrome accounts for only a few of your babys
How can doctors be sure my baby has
A blood test will show for certain if
your baby has Down syndrome. This is called a chromosome analysis
It takes up to a week to get the results of this test.
Are the doctors ever wrong?
It is extremely unusual for the blood test to show normal
chromosomes when a doctor thinks your baby has Down syndrome.
There is no need to wait for the results before telling
people about your babys Down syndrome.
Until the results come, you may find it easier to spend
time getting to know your baby rather than worrying about Down
Can Down syndrome be cured?
nDown syndrome is a life-long condition that cannot be
The problems caused by Down syndrome can be eased if
your baby has the right help and early intervention and if people
round about you have a positive accepting attitude to Down syndrome.
How severe is my babys Down syndrome?
In the same way that you cant be a little
bit pregnant, you cant have a little bit of Down
syndrome. You either have Down syndrome or you dont.
Like any other child, our babies vary in their abilities
It is not possible to predict your babys abilities and
achievements at birth. They are not linked to appearance.
Will my baby be healthy?
Our babies can be fit and healthy and have no more medical
problems than any other child.
Our babies can pick up coughs and colds more easily than
other children. Their narrow ear and nose passageways may become
blocked causing partial deafness.
Just over half of children with Down syndrome are born
with a heart or bowel problem. An operation may be needed immediately
or when the baby is older.
What will my baby be like?
Your baby will be like a baby. Your baby will eat and
sleep and cry and need nappy changes, your baby will grow up
and go to school.
Your baby will learn and develop more slowly than other
babies, but by this time next year, your baby will probably
be able to sit up, roll around, chuckle, charm your family and
friends and enjoy playing with birthday presents.
What will my baby be like as an adult?
Your baby will become an adult member of your family
who reflects your interests and values.
It may be best to deal with the baby you have now, rather
than the teenager or
adult you fear you cannot cope with.
The outlook for our children has improved greatly over
the past generation so do not base your ideas on out-dated information
or the lives of older adults who have not had todays levels
of health care and early intervention.
What if I dont want the baby?
Many families at first feel they dont want their
Usually this feeling changes. Families get to know their
own little baby who needs them rather than this baby with
Down syndrome with an unknown frightening future .
Occasionally the feeling persists beyond the first few
days. Sometimes it is best for the baby to be adopted. There
are many families happy to adopt a baby with Down syndrome.
Will it happen again?
A geneticist can give you detailed figures, but for most
families the chances of having another baby with Down syndrome
are about one in two hundred.
You can choose an amniocentesis in your next pregnancy
to see if your baby has Down syndrome.