Birth defects in babies are something that Lisa M. Cannon believes that more people should learn about and understand and that is why she has taken some time out to speak with us about the 10 things which you should know about birth defects. If you feel like you have some gaps in your knowledge, here is some info to help you brush up.
Contrary to what many believe birth defects aren’t rare and they actually affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the USA.
We often think that defects are caused as the result of genetics but this is not always the case and in fact for the most part there is no family history at all.
Money, Money, Money
Birth defects put a financial strain on families and hospitals to the tune of $2.6 billion each year. In 2018 alone there were over 140,000 hospital stays as a result of patients who are suffering from birth defects.
Some defects may be harmless, but a great many are critical and can be very dangerous for young children, in some cases life threatening. Around 1 in 5 deaths in the USA of babies less than one year old are a result of a birth defect and those who survive the first year may have a life filled with challenges as a result.
We now have the technology in place to be able to diagnose birth defects prior to the birth of the child which helps families to better plan for their arrival. Down Syndrome for example can be diagnosed early which will certainly give parents enough time to prepare.
Not all birth defects are diagnosed instantly and most will be diagnosed over the course of the first year of life. Lip clefts or Spina Bifida can be seen straight away but there are some which cannot and need to be tested for at a later date.
The expecting mother’s behavior directly relates to the emergence of birth defects and this is why we must do all that we can to prevent them. A mother cannot avoid a genetic defect of course but their actions during pregnancy can have a strong bearing on any potential problems.
When expecting mothers are told not to drink alcohol it is because there are a number of conditions known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which cause birth defects. What this means is that no alcohol is acceptable during the pregnancy.
We often think that a baby is protected from the outside world but this isn’t true because the placenta is not a strong enough barrier to protect them from everything. This is why pregnant women must care for themselves and follow a doctor’s advice.
Many birth defects occur because of the failure of the brain and spine to develop and this is why pregnant women should be taking folic acid which can help with the baby’s development and reduce the risk of birth defects.