The External Causes of Birth Defects and What They Do to Your Baby
Couples usually consider pregnancy as an exciting period of waiting. More than that; however, it is also a stressful period of hoping – hoping that the baby comes out complete, healthy and normal. Pregnancy is very crucial. During this period, the mother is expected to practice a healthy lifestyle. Vises like alcoholism, smoking and drugs should be set aside. Failing to do so can cause defects on the baby.
The causes of birth defects vary widely. Most of the time, it is hereditary in nature. However, in some cases, it can be induced by environmental factors – substances and chemicals which can cause the baby several abnormalities. In this article, we will discuss several environmental factors which can possibly cause defects on your offspring.
Alcoholism – Alohol causes Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). It is a birth defect which is slowly becoming to be more widely known. To date, the safe minimal intake of alcohol among pregnancy women remains unknown – which is why, doctors recommend a 100% no-consumption at all. Alcohol can be easily and quickly passed on to the fetus through the placenta. When a pregnant woman takes alcohol into her body, the unborn fetus gets his share as well. FAS is irreversible which is why staying away from alcohol throughout the pregnancy will highly lessen the risk of this defect. FAS comes with several symptoms: mental retardation, flat face, distinct eyes, small body, small head, light weight, heart ailments and poor coordination.
Tobacco – Whether you’re pregnant or not, smoking is harmful to the body. The sad part is that even if the mother does not smoke, smoke inhaled from second-hand smokers can still be passed on to the unborn baby. Note that the placenta acts as the fetus’ lungs. The moment that nicotine reaches the placenta, it automatically interrupts the baby’s respiratory system and the heart. When a pregnant woman smokes, it reduces the amount of oxygen for the fetus. This can cause slow growth in the baby’s tissue development. If you smoke after the fourth month of your pregnancy, nicotine intake can be a major cause of prematurity. It can also cause your baby to be underweight by the time of birth.
Caffeine – We all know that caffeine is an “upper” which stimulates our nervous system. Certain tests have been conducted among animals and it was found out that caffeine causes deformities in the bone and the skeletal development of the offspring. Among women, doctors suspect that caffeine intake can cause changes in the heartbeat and other body systems. Given this, it is highly advised that pregnant women limit their caffeine intake at least through the course of the pregnancy.
Aspirin – Pregnant women who take aspirin can cause their babies to suffer from a facial birth defect. On the part of the mother, this drug can be a cause of blood clotting. It can also increase the risks of anemia. The mother may also suffer excessive bleeding prior or even after giving birth. Because of this, it is very important that pregnant women get rid of aspirin intake while pregnant. When they experience headache, resting, instead of taking drugs, is believed to be more helpful and safer.
More than just keeping yourself healthy, get rid of the above substances. Yes, awaiting a baby may be the most stressful period in life; however, the rewards you get upon giving birth to a healthy baby is priceless.