A healthy baby is every woman’s dream!
Other than physical and hormonal changes, it is not less than an emotional roller coaster ride. It is nearly impossible to put into words what a woman goes through while being pregnant. From pregnancy confirmation to holding the baby in arms, the whole journey is full of bittersweet experiences.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a happy ending! Where some people have to bear the trauma of failed Pregnancy, while for others it can be having a newborn with birth defects.
Birth Defects- the troublemakers
Birth defects are when a child is born with a malformed body part and these defects are quite common. These birth defects can include heart defects, Down’s syndrome, cleft palate, etc. These birth defects range from mild to severe ones.
Many of these birth defects can be treated by a pediatric physician.
But here is good news! These birth defects are preventable to a greater extent, said a renowned pediatric surgeon in Karachi, during a webinar on childbirth defects.
How to prevent birth defects in pregnancy?
It takes in several aspects of maternal care that needs to be taken into consideration to prevent these birth defects. Here are several ways to prevent these birth defects;
1- Timely planning
Planning beforehand is the first that can be done to prevent these birth defects. Here are the things that can be done to prevent birth defects, including;
- Taking folic acid (a vitamin B). Consumption of folic acid is considered crucial for women as sufficient quantities of folic acid before and during pregnancy are known to reduce the chances of birth defects in the child. Folic acid deficiency can be fulfilled through diet as well as in the form of dietary supplements.
- Apart from taking care of diet, pregnant women should frequently visit their gynaecologist. A doctor can give a proper parental care plan. Apart from this, a doctor can identify birth defects in the development stages and let you make an informed decision.
My cousin who was expecting a child was detected by the doctor that her baby might be suffering from a birth defect and her doctor at United Hospital in Karachi began the baby’s treatment during her pregnancy.
2- Avoid harmful substances
Taking the right food is as important as avoiding the bad. This not only takes in the food but also all harmful substances that can be damaging for your health as well as the health of your child. During pregnancy you need to;
- Stop alcohol consumption because it can ultimately pass on to the baby via the birth tube. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is responsible for pregnancy complications, stillbirth and other physiological, behavioural and intellectual side effects such as etc. Remember, there is no safe amount for alcohol consumption during pregnancy, so avoiding alcohol is the only way.
- Other than alcohol, smoking is also harmful to pregnant women. Smoking can be dangerous because it can result in birth defects, infant death, reduce baby weight and premature birth. Moreover, drugs such as marijuana are also harmful to both child and mother health.
3- Monitoring your health condition
Besides harmful substances, medical conditions can also be the risk of many maternal and fetal health problems. These health problems include;
- Frequent high fever can be a risk factor for birth defects as overheating of the mother’s body is associated with neural tube birth defect. If you are pregnant and suffering from constant high fever, it is important to go to a physician and get timely treatment.
- Other than this, maternal body infections can also affect fetal health in a bad manner. These infections can act as a risk factor for several birth defects in the child.
- Diabetes is another risk factor that increases the probability of childbirth defects. So, for a mother who is diabetic, it is essentially important to get her blood glucose levels checked and keep them under control.
4- Maintain a healthy body weight
Another important tip for pregnant women to prevent childbirth defects is to maintain a healthy weight. Obesity is an important risk factor for several birth defects in children and can adversely affect the health of both mother and children. Even for the females who are planning to get pregnant, a healthy body is the first thing you can start working on.
Birth defects can make the life of parents as well as children miserable. But a healthy pregnancy can reduce the risk of developing these birth defects. Let me be clearer! Mother health can guarantee a healthier child. So, if you are planning a child, your own health is the first thing, to begin with!