Congenital diseases are nothing but birth
defects and abnormalities in babies. Read on to learn more about congenital
One of the most common concerns
of pregnant mothers is congenital diseases. Most of them are worried if their
baby will be at risk of congenital diseases or not. Many of them take a lot of
precautions to protect their babies from such disease. To avoid the risk of
congenital diseases, it is necessary for couples who are planning a baby to be
aware of such diseases and to know what they can do to protect their baby from
When should I be worried about congenital
Your baby has a higher
chance of having congenital disease if she falls in any of the three reasons
given below. Note that there could be many other reasons for
congenital diseases also.
Congenital diseases in the
History of congenital anomalies in
the family which are likely to be repeated
Maternal age is above 35, then
there is a higher chance of the baby getting Down's
How are abnormalities in the baby
Down's Syndrome (more
common in women over 35) and many other genetic disorders can be diagnosed by
performing an in-utero test. The doctor will generally ask for an
alphafeto-protein (AFP) test before asking the mother to undergo
amniocentesis. Once deformities in the baby have been diagnosed, the
difficult decision of whether to keep the baby or terminate the pregnancy has
to be made.
What tests can detect congenital
Here is the list of tests
that can help to detect congenital diseases in
Triple test - Serum AFP, Serum Estriol, Beta hCG - in
the first trimester
Ultrasonography in the first
trimester (around 10-12 weeks) to look for any transluscency in the neck
What are the other causes of congenital diseases?
are some of the other factors that can be responsible for development of
congenital diseases in babies.
Alcohol consumption during pregnancy
is very risky. It can increase the risk of birth defects like brain damage,
abnormalities in kidney, mental retardation, intellectual disorders,
abnormalities in eyes or vision, cleft lip and palate and abnormalities of
skull and face.
Exposure to Toxic
Some chemical and industrial products
or waste have potential to cause birth defects. Such products are known as
teratogens. If pregnant mothers come in contact with such products their babies
can be at risk of developing birth defects or congenital disorders. Such
hazardous chemicals and products include items like mercury, lead,
polychlorinated biphenyl, arsenic and cadmium, carbon monoxide, pesticides,
glycol ethers, organic solvents, toluene, xylene, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)
Exposure to X-Rays and
emitted during x-rays can be hazardous for pregnant women. Such radiations have
potential to cause birth defects like mental retardation, deformities in foetus
and other abnormalities. Such radiations can even cause
Consumption of Certain Medication and
Consumption of certain medications and drugs
during pregnancy can also increase the risk of birth defects or congenital
diseases in the foetus. Certain medicines that are used to treat acne, sleep
medications, certain antibiotics, male hormones, high dose of certain
medicines, high dose of vitamin A, taking drugs like cocaine etc; can increase
the risk of congenital diseases.
How to prevent congenital diseases or
Here are some tips for
preventing congenital disease or birth defects in
Talk to your doctor before planning a baby if you
have a family history of birth defects, birth defects in previous baby or you
are planning a baby after the age of 35.
Avoid taking any medication
without consulting your doctor during pregnancy.
If you are already on any
medication and if you get pregnant, inform your doctor about it.
Consult your doctor if you are
coping with any medical condition and are planning a baby or get pregnant with
Avoid exposure to x-rays or any other
Avoid coming in contact with
toxins and harmful chemical as mentioned above during pregnancy.
Avoid smoking, taking alcoholic
drinks and recreational drugs during
It is very necessary to take right precautions during
pregnancy in order to protect the foetus from congenital diseases. Follow the
above mentioned precautions for protecting your baby and for its healthy growth
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- The Indiaparenting Team