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The Genetics and Implications of Neuromuscular Diseases in Pregnancy

Frazer, Kristin L. MS, CGC, LGC; Porter, Stephanie MS, WHNP-BC; Goss, Christina MS, WHNP-BC

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: July/September 2013 - Volume 27 - Issue 3 - p 205–214
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0b013e318299c338
FEATURE ARTICLES: Continuing Education

Neuromuscular diseases can have a tremendous impact on pregnant women and affect offspring. Healthcare providers need to have a firm understanding of the genetics involved as well as the potential complications that can arise when treating pregnant women who have been diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease or have an increased risk for delivering an infant affected by one of these disorders. This article provides a comprehensive synopsis of genetics, including the strategies for obtaining a detailed patient and family genetic history through construction of a pedigree, as well as imparting some key knowledge for providing appropriate counseling and treatment to affected individuals and families. It addresses the genetic testing, diagnosis, impact, and medical considerations for both patients and offspring affected by myotonic dystrophy, Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and spinal muscular atrophy.

University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Corresponding Author: Kristin L. Frazer, MS, CGC, LGC, University of Tennessee Medical Center, 1924 Alcoa Hwy 6 South, Knoxville, TN 37920 (

Disclosure: The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Submitted for publication: January 31, 2013; accepted for publication: May 1, 2013.

© 2013 by Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.