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 may talk about various issues during your baby's regularly scheduled checkups. In addition to talking about health problems, your doctor may talk with you about concerns like:
Growth and development. Children with Down syndrome grow and develop in the same way as other children but at a slower rate.
Your support system. It is important to connect with other people who understand and have had similar experiences. Find out how to contact a support group or other families in your area with children who have Down syndrome if you have not done so already.
How your family is adjusting. This is a good time to begin discussing long-term financial issues and guardianship for your child.
What kinds of early intervention to pursue. An early-intervention program (for babies and children younger than 3 years) monitors and encourages the development of children who have special needs.
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 chances of an upper respiratory infection. Also, discuss your child's immunizations. For more information, see the topic Immunizations.
If you have concerns about your chances of having another child with Down syndrome, talk with your doctor 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