Expecting a baby is joyous and parents can’t just wait to meet the little ones after nine months of pregnancy. Apart from thinking about the baby’s nursery color, your diet, fitness regime during pregnancy, praying for an easy labor, every parent would hope, want, and pray for a healthy baby.
In reality, things don’t always go according to plan. Birth defects in babies are certainly worrisome but quite common. One in 33 babies in the United States is born with serious birth defects. With early detection, intervention, and medicines, babies affected by birth conditions can lead a healthy and normal life. Some of the most common birth defects in babies are listed out below.
Common Birth Defects
1. Congenital Heart Defects
Most of the heart defects in the babies can be detected during pregnancy through ultrasound. But the most frightening part of the truth is that the congenital heart problem is the most common birth defect in babies. The American Heart Association reports eight out of every 1,000 babies are born with some heart disorder. The defects can range from issues with the heart
Serious heart defects are outwardly detectable. With symptoms like rapid heartbeat, breathing difficulties, gray or bluish lips, swelling, and feeding trouble. If left untreated, it might lead to congenital heart failure.
2. Cleft Lip Or Palate
Although the defect might look alarming, it can be corrected after birth. A cleft lip or a cleft palate is a common birth defect where the root of the mouth does not close properly. This defect can cause trouble while eating or talking. The exact cause of the defect is hard to detect but it is likely that women who smoke, use certain epilepsy medications, have diabetes to have babies born with this condition.
Symptoms of this defect can be mild or severe – involving the lip, floor of the nostril, and the dental arch. Usually, a speech pathologist helps the
3. Spina Bifida
Spina bifida is another common birth defect which involves the baby’s spine development in the first trimester. It may lead to long-lasting problems in the legs – leg paralysis, bladder and bowel-control problems. Sometimes, the malformation of the neural tube that becomes the framework of the spine does not close completely. The neural-tube defects can be detected through tests like the alpha-fetoprotein test, through ultrasound, and amniocentesis. Taking proper care in the first trimester is important. While some women may opt for fetal surgery that corrects the defect, others choose to wait until birth. In severe cases, the baby will be operated within 48 hours of birth.
About 1 in 1000 babies are affected with clubfoot. As a parent, this condition
5. Undeveloped Or Missing Limbs
Unfortunately, some babies end up being born with underdeveloped or missing limbs. It is believed that maternal exposure to chemicals or viruses during pregnancy might affect the growing baby. Missing of upper limbs is quite common and the defect affects about 1500 babies in the United States each year.
6. Down Syndrome
This is a genetic abnormality which can happen to anybody. When the baby gets an extra copy of chromosome 21 in a certain part of the genetic code, Down syndrome is the result. The incidence of this syndrome increases with mother’s age. With certain genetic tests, the condition can be detected. Although children affected with this syndrome can live a healthy and happy life, it is devastating for the parents. A baby with Down syndrome can have slanted eyes, small mouth, nose with a flattened nasal bridge, small ears that fold over at the top, and small hands with short fingers. It can cause certain intellectual disabilities and medical conditions that might include heart defect. There is no cure for this syndrome.
7. Fragile X Syndrome
The most common genetic cause of autism is Fragile X syndrome. When the baby’s body cannot produce enough of a protein that is used to help develop the brain. About 1
8. Sickle-Cell Disease
Around 1 in 625 births are affected by Sickle-cell disease. This mostly affects the African-American community. All newborns need to give a blood test to detect the disorder. Symptoms of the disease can cause debilitating bouts of pain and damage to vital organs. It can even be fatal. This disease affects the hemoglobin (a protein inside the red blood cells) and distorts the
9. Cerebral Palsy
This defect in babies can occur during pregnancy, at birth, or shortly afterward. It affects about 500,000 children in the United States. Issues involve muscle tone, coordination, and motor skills. This disorder is the result of maternal health issues, genetics, infections, and other issues during the brain development in the baby. Sometimes, it can also happen during delivery. The severity of the defect varies and there are various types of CP. A cerebral palsy kid would have problems with walking, eating, breathing, talking and even bladder control. It can
You can’t really beat genetics, but fortunately, babies born with birth defects have a chance to get cured with advanced medical interventions. You have to give attention and focus on your baby’s defects to help develop his full potential.
There are some precautions to take during pregnancy. To ensure giving birth to a healthy baby, staying away from smoking or drinking alcohol is a must.