By Dr. Saurabh Chaudhary, Orthopaedics
What is Congenital Deformity?
In cases where an infant is born with certain abnormalities, it is referred to as congenital deformities. It may be inherited or an acquired trait. It is imperative for the parents to take the necessary steps to prevent such conditions. Congenital deformities may negatively affect your child’s health.
Common Congenital Disorders:
Some of the commonly occurring congenital deformities are-
• Cerebral palsy
• Down syndrome
• Cystic fibrosis
• Fragile X syndrome
• Heart conditions
• Cleft palate and Cleft lip
There are tests available to identify congenital disorders. These tests can be performed after a period of 10 weeks following the start of pregnancy. Screening tests are basic ways to identify deformities. If that does not work, one can opt for ultrasound scans, blood tests and urine tests.
Another method to check for congenital deformities is Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS). Usually done within 10-13 weeks of pregnancy, this test is to mainly diagnose Down syndrome. It involves the use of needles to collect sample cells from the placenta.
Steps you can take to Prevent Congenital Deformities:
There are several steps to take to ensure the healthy birth of the child. It is ideal to start taking extra precautions when you start planning for a pregnancy.
• Quit Smoking - Smoking tendencies in expecting mothers can cause the baby to be underweight. If you have a habit of smoking, prepare yourself to quit well in advance of pregnancy.
• Maintain Healthy Diet - A healthy diet before and during the period of pregnancy is to ensure good health of both the mother and the fetus. A healthy diet will supply all the nutrients to the fetus needed for its growth.
• Maintaining Standard Weight - It is equally important for mothers to maintain a healthy weight as overweight issues may lead to diabetes. This sometimes is transferred to the child in form of neonatal diabetes.
• Avoid alcohol and drugs - Intake of alcohol or use of drugs like herbal supplements may affect the well being and health of your fetus.
• Folic acid - One of the most important ingredients that keep you and your baby healthy is the use of folic acid. Daily intake of folic acid will help prevent conditions like neural tube defect and deformities of the brain and spinal cord.
• Avoid Infections - During this period it is advisable for pregnant women to avoid infections caused by raw meat and vegetables.
While complete prevention of congenital deformities is not possible, adherence to these guidelines can go a long way in ensuring good health of both the mother and the infant.