As an expecting parent you will no doubt be worried about the arrival of your new baby and be hopeful that everything goes well with the rest of the pregnancy and the arrival of your new addition. Something which many parents worry about are potential birth defects and so we spoke to medical professional Lisa M Cannon, about what parents need to know.
Birth defects are something which are actually quite common and they affect 1 in every 33 babies that are born. The majority of these babies have defects despite having no family history of them.
There are very often no cause as to why babies develop defects at birth but something which we have seen work very well for mother’s is taking folic acid throughout the pregnancy. Folic acid helps with the development of the baby’s spine and brain.
Not all brith defects are found as soon as the baby has arrived and many defects are not actually picked up until a later date. Some birth defects like spina bifida or a cleft lip are easy to spot straight away but others may not appear until the child has started to grow.
We have tests now like the ultrasound and amniocentesis which can pick up issues such as heart defects, spina bifida or Down syndrome before a baby is born. For many parents this can greatly help them to prepare better for the arrival of their child.
It is important to understand that a birth defect can result in additional spending for you and the family and 9in the US alone it is estimated that hospital costs for babies with brith defects runs at around $2.6 billion.
There are a number of causes of birth defects which we must understand and not all of them are based on genetics. Of course sometimes genetics does come into it but there are also causes such as drinking, drug use, cigarettes and exposure to harmful chemicals and infectious diseases which can result in your child having a birth defect.
In some cases brith defects can be prevented. During pregnancy women should take vitamins like folic acid to help the development of the baby and they should also have regular medical checkups to ensure that any infectious diseases are dealt with swiftly and in order to keep her in good health.
Simple hygiene can play its part in ensuring that the unborn baby stays safe from infection and expecting mothers should ensure that they are doing all that they can to keep the baby’s risk to a minimum.
No amount of alcohol is alright when a woman is expecting and many babies can suffer from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders which cause problems for the baby directly as a result of their consumption of alcohol.
There are some wonderful charities out there that help to educate expecting parents on the best way to manage the pregnancy in order to lower the risk of birth defects. If you are in any doubt at all then simply check out local charities and let them help out.