Causes of Down’s syndrome – Down’s syndrome is usually caused by an extra chromosome in a baby’s cells. In most cases, this isn’t inherited – it’s simply the result of a one-off genetic change in the sperm or egg.There’s a small chance of having a child with Down’s syndrome with any pregnancy, but the likelihood increases with the age of the mother.For example, a woman who is 20 has about a 1 in 1,500 chance of having a baby with Down’s, while a woman who is 40 has a 1 in 100 chance.There’s no evidence that anything done before or during pregnancy increases or decreases the chance of having a child with Down’s syndrome.
Health problems linked to Down’s syndrome – People with Down’s syndrome are more likely to have certain health problems, including:
- heart disorders, such as congenital heart disease
- hearing and vision problems
- thyroid problems, such as an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
- recurrent infections, such as pneumonia
Your child may be checked by a paediatrician more often than other children to pick up problems as early as possible.
- access to good healthcare – including a range of different specialists
- support for your child’s development – this may include speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, and home teaching
- support groups – such as the Down’s Syndrome Association, who can put you in touch with other families who have a child with Down’s syndrome
Lots of people with Down’s syndrome are able to leave home, have relationships, work, and lead largely independent lives.