If your baby is born with Down syndrome, you will likely have many questions and strong emotions. Your doctor can help answer your questions. And he or she can guide you to appropriate resources to help you manage your feelings and plan for your child's long-term care needs.
Your doctor will talk to you about various issues during your baby's scheduled checkups. In addition to talking about health problems, your doctor may talk with you about concerns like:
Feelings that you have about your child's facial appearance and low muscle tone.
How to tell other family members and friends about your child's condition.
Where to get more information about Down syndrome. The more you know and understand about the condition, the better you can care for and support your child. For information about online resources and organizations, see the Other Places to Get Help section of the topic Down Syndrome.
How to build a good support system. Discuss the support you have in family and friends. Other families in your area that have children who have Down syndrome also can provide support and encouragement.
Healthy ways to cope with this lifelong condition.
What precautions you can take to prevent colds and other respiratory infections. A narrow nose and air passages make children with Down syndrome prone to minor blockages from mucus during respiratory infections. A stuffy nose forces your child to breathe through the mouth. This dries out the mucous membranes and increases the chance of an upper respiratory infection. Also, discuss the immunizations that your child will need.
Getting your child in an early-intervention program, if one is available in your area. An early-intervention program (for babies and children younger than 3 years) monitors and encourages development.
Other treatments for Down syndrome that you may have heard about. There are several controversial treatments that have not been proved to work or that are of questionable benefit. Talk with your doctor before trying a treatment that your doctor has not specifically recommended.
If you have more concerns about your chance of having another child with Down syndrome, talk with your doctor or a genetic counselor at this time. You may want to discuss how the condition may be diagnosed during pregnancy.
Medical Review:John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics