When you’re pregnant, you worry about every little thing that could go wrong. Thankfully, most babies are born healthy. There are, however, some serious birth disorders that you should be aware of, in the unlikely event that your baby is affected.
? scan for Spina Bifida – This is a condition where the backbone, which protects the spinal cord, does not close properly during prenatal development. This condition can range from being a minor problem, if the opening is tiny, or can cause paralysis and other serious medical issues if the opening is large, or if the spinal cord itself is protruding. The exact cause is not known, though heredity does seem to play a role. So does nutrition, particularly when the mother does not have enough folic acid in her diet. Obstetricians have begun recommending folic acid supplements for women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant, and this has lowered the rate of this disease. You will probably be tested for spina bifida during your pregnancy. Many times it can be diagnosed in utero using ultra sound. Sometimes, surgery can even be performed on the baby in utero to correct the problem.
? Tay Sachs Disease – This disease is caused by an enzyme deficiency. Simply put, these babies do not break down fatty deposits in the brain and nerve cells. Unfortunately, it is not usually diagnosed at birth. When the child is several months old, this buildup of fatty deposits will clog cells, causing the baby’s nervous system to stop working. The child will begin to regress developmentally, always resulting in death. Tay Sachs is very rare, less than one hundred cases are reported in the US each year. It is caused by genetics. Both parents must have the gene for the disease to occur. It is most common in Jewish families of Central and Eastern European descent. If your ethnic background makes this disease a risk for your child, you and your partner can be tested for the gene before you become pregnant. In addition, the disease can be diagnosed in utero via amniocentesis.
These are three of the most common birth disorders. To find out about more birth disorders, see my article in “Mommy to Mommy – The Truth about Taking Care of Baby”, which can be found at http://www.educatedmother.com.