Expectant moms look forward to the day when their child comes to the world. But sometimes birth defects can place a shadow on this wonderful occasion.
Usually birth defects appear in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when the baby’s organs are in the process of developing. Some of them are not developing properly until the last 6 months of pregnancy, when organs and tissues continue to grow.
Most of the abnormalities can be detected in the womb or during the first year of life. These can include: chromosomal disorders, cleft lip, and spina bifida. Some other birth defects like hearing loss or congenital heart defects may not me found until much later in the child's life:
Causes & Prevention
Environment, genetics and parental behaviour – all of these can be responsible for birth defects. Follow the below tips to protect your and your child’s health:
- Avoid alcohol. Please don't consume alcohol during pregnancy, as this can result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. You can stay safe consuming no alcohol at all.
- Take folic acid. Even if you are just planning your pregnancy and can become pregnant any day, consume 400micrograms of folic acid every single day. Folic acid helps to develop baby's spine and breathe, often before a woman knows that she is pregnant. Taking into account that half of all pregnancies in the world are unplanned, this essential vitamin is recommended for all women during their childbearing age.
- Immunize yourself and your child. Vaccines taken during pregnancy are one of the most effective and safest ways to pass immunity from certain conditions to your child. Consult your doctor regarding getting flu and pertussis (whooping cough) vaccines during pregnancy.
- Infection's control. Prevent yourself from infections. This will help you keep your unborn baby safe from birth defects and other complications. Wash your hands after using the restroom, touching public surfaces and cleaning up after pets and kids. Eat only well-dome fish and meat and stay away from people who have infectious diseases.
- Manage diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes may affect both your health and your baby’s development. Some women can develop specific form of diabetes that can appear only during pregnancy, the so-called gestational diabetes. If you have diabetes or develop it while pregnant, please follow the instructions of your physician to manage the condition.