Birth Defects

The birth of a child should be a joyful event, you will be anticipated with pleasure throughout the nine monthos of pregnancy. But a hidden fear haunts parents that their child could be born with a birth defect. Parents are more worried about these birth defects than they are of having a boy or girl and rightfully so. Everyone just wants to have a healthy baby to love and care for.
For parents to realistically assess their chances of have a healthy baby, here are some answers to commonly asked questions.
What are the odds that a couple will have a defective baby?
Are all birth defects serious?
NO. None of us is born perfect, we are all unique individuals and all vary from normal in some way. Almost everyone has a mole or birthmark, which is a form of defect. Millions of Americans have defects of color vision disability or web toes, however few of us are handicapped by these defects.
The defects that are serious result in a physical or mental handicap, shorten the victim's life, or cause death at birth. These conditions may either be inherited through the genes or may result form some occurrence during pregnancy, such as the illness of the mother. Many do not cause trouble until years after birth. Some can better be described as a weakness rather than a disorder. They leave a person susceptible to some health problem which may or may not develop.
There are about 1,500 different types of birth defects, but some are so rare a doctor may never see one in all his years as a doctor. The most common ones are all put in about 16 different categories. These categories include disfiguring birthmarks; cleft lip or palate; limb deformities or missing limbs; mental retardation; diabetes; malformations of the heart; urinary or digestive systems; blindness and visual impairment; deafness and hearing impairment; muscular dystrophy; sickle-cell trait; metabolic disturbance; Rh disease; incompletely formed spine; water on the brain, and cystic fibrosis.
How early can you determine if a child has a defect?
Is it possible to know before a child is born if it will have a defect?
Are all birth defects inherited?
Are drugs and alcohol harmful?
Are x-rays harmful?
Are certain periods of the pregnancy riskier than others?
The most dangerous times for outside "insults" which may triger a defective birth are in the first three months of pregnancy, when the most vital organs are developing. Unfortunately, the danger period is the time a wome is least likely to be aware of her pregnancy. A suspected pregnancy should be confirmed quickly, so that the expected mother can take precautions to protect her baby. Good nutrition is especially important. This is why it is no accident that high birth-defect rates occur in underpriviledged areas.
If a couple has had one defective child, what are the chances the next birth will be defective?
What can be done to correct birth defects?
What steps can parents take to guard against birth defects?
The most obvious precaution is to make sure that the father of the baby is not a close relative. This will compound the possibility of birth defects. The couple should choose a family physician and provide him with a detailed family medical history so that potential genetic problems can be identified and protected against. If the history discloses a possible defect, the risks should be discussedbetween theparentsas well as with the physician before a pregnancy is attempted.
Even if the wife has no apparent genetic complications, she should consult her docor as soon as she suspects she is pregnant since good prenantal care is the best protection against non-genetic birth defects. She should us only drugs and medicines the physician prescribes, and avoid pep pills, sleeping pills, tranquiliers, and pain-killers. She should avoid contact with persons with infectious diseases and if possible, postpone dental x-rays. She should pay particular attention to proper nutritution, remembering that the child's development is more important than her weight gain. The less nutritution a baby receives, the less brain cells the baby will have.
Conclusion
Birth defects are on of themost terrible diseases which strike young children. Often this is a striking disfigurement of the head and facial figures. As stated earlier much can be done about preventing and lessening the extent of birth defects. Young mothers should be aware of