Maternity & Midwifery Forum
Midwifery Feature Articles Uncategorised

Positive About Down Syndrome

By Holli Sheahan

Last week the yearly World Down Syndrome day took place on 21st March. In this article Holli Sheahan from charity Down Syndrome UK shares resources and information for midwives and health professionals to be ‘positive about Down syndrome’. 


What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a naturally occurring genetic condition caused by an extra chromosome. 

Babies with Down syndrome are born in every country to parents of all ages, races, religions, and backgrounds. 

Whilst people with Down syndrome share some common physical characteristics, each is a unique individual with their own strengths and weaknesses, individual character and personality, each influenced by their families, friends and life – just like everyone else. 

World Down Syndrome Day 

The 21st day of March (the 3rd month of the year) was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. Every year on March 21st, World Down Syndrome Day is observed to create awareness about Down syndrome. 

Empowering professionals 

At Positive about Down syndrome, we work with over 1,500 families of a little one with Down syndrome under the age of 3, so are very immersed in maternity and early care for our families.  

We collaborate with maternity units and universities to provide resources and training to midwives and other health professionals, with our training drawing upon the real-life recent experiences of our members together with evidence-based research.  

We are passionate about ensuring parents and professionals have access to contemporary, relevant, and accurate information as well as positive and meaningful support. Resources for maternity care professionals are available here, and there is a facebook group you can join for further information. 

We are delighted to advise that we offer free informal monthly lunchtime webinars, aimed at supporting and training all healthcare professionals around best practices to improve the maternity experience of parents of a baby with Down syndrome. 

Created and delivered by parents, experts in the lived experience of pregnancy and life with a child with Down syndrome, the sessions will provide you with a chance to learn from our experiences, to seek advice, and ask questions. Booking for the webinars is available here . 

We believe that every woman with a high chance or confirmed result of a baby having Down syndrome has the right to enjoy a pregnancy free from discrimination and not be subjected to any prejudicial language or attitudes. Language matters cards for sharing with others are available here.  

For further resources: 

Down Syndrome UK/Positive about Down syndrome website: Home: DSUK – Down Syndrome UK 

Holli Sheahan, Down Syndrome UK 

March 2024