As your local support group, we have gathered together information from the Down's Syndrome Association. We understand that this can be a very difficult time for you, so feel free to download the information packs for new parents - Being Pregnant and the New Parent Pack.
It can also be helpful talking to parents of children with Down's syndrome. You are always welcome to attend one of our monthly get-togethers.
Down’s syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby’s cells. In the majority of cases, Down’s syndrome is not an inherited condition. Down’s syndrome usually occurs because of a chance happening at the time of conception.
Down's syndrome is not a disease. People with Down's syndrome are not ill and do not "suffer" from the condition. People with Down’s syndrome are all unique individuals and should be acknowledged as a person first and foremost. It is important to think of the person first, e.g. “John is 29 and he has Down’s syndrome”.
People with the syndrome will have a degree of learning difficulty. However, most people with Down's syndrome will walk and talk and many will read and write, go to ordinary schools and lead fulfilling, semi-independent lives.
About 750 babies with Down’s syndrome are born in the UK each year.
There are 40,000 people in the UK with the condition.
Although the chance of a baby having Down's syndrome is higher for older mothers, more babies with Down's syndrome are born to younger women - due to younger women having higher fertility rates.
What we do know is that no one is to blame. Nothing done before or during pregnancy can cause Down’s syndrome. It occurs in all races, social classes and in all countries throughout the world. It can happen to anyone.
The quality of life, life expectancy and role in the community for people with Down’s syndrome have gradually been transformed as education and support have improved. In fact the opportunities for people with Down’s syndrome to lead the lives that they want have never been greater.
Adults with Down’s syndrome are leading longer, more healthy, fulfilling and varied lives. Small but increasing numbers are leaving home to live with support in their communities, getting jobs, having busy social lives and enjoying friendships and relationships.
Today the average life expectancy for a person with Down’s syndrome is between 50 and 60 with a small number of people living into their seventies.