Shawn Johnson East opens up about the anxiety she felt during her recent anatomy scan

It sparked an important conversation about Down Syndrome and what it truly means to have a "healthy baby."

Shawn Johnson East opens up about the anxiety she felt during her recent anatomy scan

Former Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson East and her husband, Andrew East, recently found themselves reeling when they received some truly scary news after a routine pregnancy appointment.

The couple attended their anatomy scan, which is arguably the biggest pregnancy milestone for many couples. Most of us leave that scan excited to have made it to the halfway point of the pregnancy, and lots of parents look forward to this ultrasound because it often reveals the baby's sex. However, as the couple learned, anatomy scans can show much more than whether you're having a boy or a girl.

They opened up about the experience in a recent video posted to their YouTube channel. "[After the scan] our doctor comes in...she turns around and she's like 'well, the ultrasound was just okay.' I felt like someone knocked every ounce of air out of me," Shawn shares in the video.


Shawn goes on to explain that in about 1% of pregnancies, it's discovered that the umbilical cord that connects mother to baby only has two vessels (as opposed to the standard three). On top of that, the baby's kidneys appeared dilated in the scan, which can be a pretty common occurrence, However, as Shawn explains, seeing these two factors together can sometimes indicate that the baby has Down Syndrome or another genetic disorder.

The news understandably upset the couple, who suffered a miscarriage during Shawn's first pregnancy. They opted to undergo genetic testing to learn about their baby's health, and opened up about that experience (and the results of the testing) in a subsequent video.

Luckily, it was good news for the couple, who learned their genetic testing showed no abnormalities. "I just sat there and read and cried and prayed," Shawn says of receiving these results. "I was just in shock."

Hopefully this couple's willingness to share such a personal story will show other parents-to-be who are working through similar situations that they aren't alone.

"If our test came back and our baby had Downs Syndrome, we would love that baby more than anything in the entire world," Shawn says. "But in our hearts, as parents, as every parent in the world prays and hopes, you hope for a healthy baby. Getting those results back was a huge weight lifted off of our hearts."

Shawn meant no harm in sharing her update, but her words did sting for some fellow mamas who are raising children with Down Syndrome, who are using this news story to open up a broader dialog about what it means to have a "healthy baby."

As mom Kelly Simpson (who is parenting a child with Down syndrome) writes for The Mighty, "Down syndrome is a genetic condition that can have virtually no medical complications or bring with it serious medical complications, and everything in-between."

She understands Shawn's feelings because she felt them herself, but she hopes that continued conversations about this topic and Down syndrome will make these kind of test results less devastating and more informative overall.

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There is rightfully a lot of emphasis on preparing for the arrival of a new baby. The clothes! The nursery furniture! The gear! But, the thing about a baby registry is, well, your kids will keep on growing. Before you know it, they'll have new needs—and you'll probably have to foot the bill for the products yourself.

Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank when shopping for toddler products. Here are our favorite high-quality, budget-friendly finds to help with everything from meal time to bath time for the toddler set.

Comforts Fruit Crisps Variety Pack

Comforts fruit snacks

If there is one thing to know about toddlers, it is this: They love snacks. Keeping a variety on hand is easy when the pack already comes that way! Plus, we sure do appreciate that freeze-dried fruit is a healthier alternative to fruit snacks.

Comforts Electrolyte Drink

Comforts electrolyte drink

Between running (or toddling!) around all day and potentially developing a pickier palate, many toddlers can use a bit of extra help with replenishing their electrolytes—especially after they've experienced a tummy bug. We suggest keeping an electrolyte drink on hand.

Comforts Training Pants

Comforts training pants

When the time comes to start potty training, it sure helps to have some training pants on hand. If they didn't make it to the potty in time, these can help them learn their body's cues.

Comforts Nite Pants

comforts nite pants

Even when your toddler gets the hang of using the toilet during the day, nighttime training typically takes several months longer than day-time training. In the meantime, nite pants will still help them feel like the growing, big kid they are.

Comforts Baby Lotion

comforts baby lotion

Running, jumping, playing in sand, splashing in water—the daily life of a toddler can definitely irritate their skin! Help put a protective barrier between their delicate skin and the things they come into contact with every day with nourishing lotion.

Another great tip? Shopping the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices—and follow along on social media to see product releases and news at @comfortsforbaby.

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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