Last Reviewed: April 2017
Your Health and Family History
- Find out if your families have any diseases which may be passed on in families through their genes.
- Talk to your doctor if someone in your family has an inherited condition or disease.
Family … The Ties That Matter
Not all babies born in Canada are healthy. In Ontario, 3% of newborns (about 4,000 per year) have a major birth defect.
* (Fetal Alert Network- Annual Progress Report 2004-2005)
Health problems and diseases can be passed on in families through their genes. If you or your partner has a family history of certain diseases, talk with your family doctor before you get pregnant.
Knowing your family's medical history can help you identify diseases that might be passed on to your baby. Ask your parents questions about their health and the health of your aunts, uncles and grandparents; for example:
- Does our family have a history of any types of major diseases like haemophilia, cystic fibrosis or sickle-cell anemia?
- Has anyone in our family had a miscarriage or stillbirth? Have any babies in our family died when they were infants? If so, why?
- Has anyone in our family had a baby with a birth defect or Down Syndrome?
- What is our family's racial and ethnic history? (Some diseases, like sickle-cell anemia, are more common among particular races and ethnicities.)
Once you know about your family's medical history, tell your doctor. He or she will then explain genetic screening and your baby's risk of being born with a birth defect or developing certain diseases.
For more information:
Region of Peel — Public Health
905-799-7700 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
To speak with a Public Health Nurse