BBC soap EastEnders is set to tackle a difficult subject in upcoming scenes as Whitney and Zack’s baby storyline takes an emotional turn.
Whitney’s baby will be diagnosed with Edwards’ syndrome.
As Whitney prepares for motherhood, she becomes concerned when she experiences spotting and decides to head to the hospital to get checked out.
However, she is left stunned when the doctor delivers some troubling news about her baby.
EastEnders spoilers: Whitney is rushed to hospital after experiencing spotting
In upcoming scenes in EastEnders, Whitney becomes panicked when she experiences spotting.
Whitney is currently pregnant with Zack’s baby following their brief fling last year.
The pair initially agreed to raise the baby together, but he recently decided to remove himself from her life after testing positive for HIV.
But Whitney’s pregnancy takes an unsettling turn when she is given some worrying news.
Kat offers to take Whitney to the hospital, where she is checked out and has a scan.
However, Whitney is shocked when she finds that her ultrasound has flagged up a situation with the baby.
After the scan identifies a birth defect, which prompts further testing, the baby will be diagnosed with Edwards’ syndrome.
What is Edwards’ syndrome as Whitney and Zack’s baby is diagnosed in EastEnders?
Edwards’ syndrome is also known as Trisomy 18. It is a rare condition where the baby has three copies of chromosome number 18 instead of two.
According to the NHS website Edwards’ syndrome affects how long a baby may survive. Sadly, most babies with Edwards’ syndrome will die before or shortly after being born.
About 13 in 100 babies born alive with Edwards’ syndrome will live past their 1st birthday.
The syndrome is associated with some physical features and health problems, but every baby is unique. Not all of the conditions will affect every baby.
Babies with Edwards’ syndrome usually have a low birthweight and other symptoms including heart, respiratory, kidney or gastrointestinal conditions.
They also want to sensitively portray the tough decisions that prospective parents are faced with following a diagnosis.
Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer shared: “It was imperative for us to work alongside Antenatal Results and Choices and SOFT UK. To accurately present and sensitively portray such an emotional storyline that many parents may relate to.
“Shona and James’ performances have thoughtfully portrayed the realities of the diagnosis and the decision making process with compassion and understanding.
“We hope that this story resonates with the audience. And that we represent it as sensitively, and as accurately as possible.”
Charities speak out
Speaking about the storylines, Jan Fowler, Chair at SOFT UK said: “At SOFT UK, we support families impacted by Edwards’ or Patau’s Syndrome and we were pleased to be able to work with the EastEnders team on how they could approach the story of Whitney and Zack’s baby’s diagnosis of Edwards’ Syndrome in an accurate and sensitive way.
“Around 3 in every 10,000 births in the UK are affected by Edwards’ syndrome each year and many parents contact SOFT for help.
“We provide parents with comprehensive advice and support whether they decide to end their pregnancy or to continue.
“We also support families whose living children have Edwards’ or Patau’s.”
Jane Fisher, Director at Antenatal Results and Choices said: “At ARC we hear daily from expectant parents dealing with the shock of being told their baby is not developing as expected, as is sadly the case for those who receive an Edwards’ syndrome diagnosis.
“This is a distressing and often isolating time for expectant parents as they try and navigate their next steps in a state of emotional turmoil and it’’s rarely spoken about.
“Well done EastEnders for tackling this difficult subject and we are pleased they involved us to help them treat the storyline with such sensitivity and compassion.”
EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.
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