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Genetic Inheritance for the Pregnancy Pathway: A Practical Guide for Clinicians

Explore genetics and genomics in maternity healthcare and apply principles to provide high quality care.

1,279 enrolled on this course

An old hand holding a baby's hand

Genetic Inheritance for the Pregnancy Pathway: A Practical Guide for Clinicians

1,279 enrolled on this course

  • 2 weeks

  • 3 hours per week

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Advanced level

Find out more about how to join this course

Discover different types of genetic inheritance and understand genomic testing

Genomics is an ever-developing area of healthcare, and genetic tests are being mainstreamed, becoming more accessible than ever before. That’s why it’s important for professionals providing primary and secondary care to understand genetic inheritance so they can provide appropriate quality of care to their patients.

On this two-week course, you’ll learn about the different types of genetic inheritance, delving deeper into Mendelian inheritance and its potential deviations. There will be a focus on genomics in the pregnancy pathway, providing a practical guide for midwives and other practitioners delivering maternity care.

Develop practical skills for taking patient history and drawing pedigrees

An important part of recognising inherited disorders is in taking family histories and drawing family trees. You’ll learn key principles for taking family and patient history, then use those skills to gain practical experience in drawing pedigrees.

Recognise genomic conditions in prenatal and antenatal development

Using case examples, you’ll look at how you can improve care pathways and referrals, specifically throughout pregnancy care. You’ll also have the opportunity to discuss current ethical issues in genetic testing, such as the ethical implications of offering genetic testing, and how genetic testing could be mainstreamed into maternity services.

Learn from experts in the field of genomics

With clinicians at the forefront of providing clinical genomic services, The South East Genomic Medicines Service Alliance (GMSA) has specialist expertise and understanding in genomics, in particular workforce training and education.


  • Week 1

    The principles of genetic inheritance in healthcare

    • Welcome to the course

      In these first few steps, you will be introduced to the course and the educators and obtain an overview of the learning objectives and content to be covered in the first week.

    • Patterns of inheritance Part 1

      The first part of the week will explore autosomal dominant and recessive patterns of inheritance. We have provided details of some conditions you may recognise in practice.

    • Patterns of inheritance Part 2

      In the second part of the week, we look at sex linked inheritance, x-linked conditions, and chromosome rearrangement inheritance.

    • Summary of the week

      The final part of the week is to consolidate and reflect on learning.

  • Week 2

    The practicalities of taking a family history and recognising deviations

    • The principles of pedigree drawing

      In these first steps of the week, we are going to introduce you to the art of history taking and drawing a pedigree through different activities.

    • Additional considerations to genetic inheritance and testing

      Genetic inheritance does not always follow the simple principles described in week one. You will learn more about the deviations from the standard principles as well as the ethical, social and legal issues of genetic testing.

    • Standardising care

      In this section, we will cover how to get the best out of a consultation. We will explore both the clinician and patient views.

    • Summary

      With conversations about mainstreaming genomics already in the air, tell us what you think as we come to the end of the course.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe dominant, recessive, x-linked and complex inheritance
  • Identify examples of genomic conditions, including the ones they are most likely to encounter in antenatal care
  • Demonstrate the ability to draw a pedigree
  • Apply the principles of pedigree drawing to recognise modes of inheritance
  • Identify deviations from mendelian inheritance
  • Evaluate further individual learning needs to provide high quality care

Who is the course for?

This course is primarily designed for midwives. It may also be of interest to those involved in the pregnancy pathway such as primary care physicians, nurses, and health visitors, as well as medical and healthcare undergraduates.

While the course will generally assume knowledge appropriate to healthcare professionals, anyone interested in assessing their own family genetic history may find the course useful.

Who will you learn with?

I am a midwife working at St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

My main interests are in genomics and fetal medicine.

I have recently completed a MSc in Genomic medicine (2021).

I am a Principal Genetic Counsellor based at St George's Hospital .

I work with patients in cardiac, prenatal, general and cancer genetics and have a special interest in education and training

I am a General and Prenatal Genetic Counsellor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

I trained as a genetic counsellor via the Scientist Training Programme at Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Who developed the course?

St George's, University of London

St George’s is the UK’s only university dedicated to medical and health sciences education, training and research.

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Ways to learn

Choose the best way to learn for you!

Subscribe & save

$349.99 for one year

Automatically renews

Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$109/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 1 Jul 2024

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

Learning on FutureLearn

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  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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