Fetal disorders or birth defects are medical conditions that affect the baby while developing in the womb. Fetal disorders can be severe or minor and affect baby’s appearance, physical or mental development and organ function. These defects usually occur in the first three months of pregnancy and are one of the leading causes of infant deaths.
Causes and symptoms
There could be either genetic or non genetic risk factors that cause fetal disorders. Exposure to certain chemicals and medications and sexually transmitted infections during pregnancy are some of the major risk factors associated with birth defects. Genetic mutation or missing genes during fertilization or medical history of particular defect can also be the cause.
Most common non genetic causes of fetal disorders are excessive drinking of alcohol, smoking, illegal drugs during pregnancy. Over age pregnancy can also increase the chances of fetal disorders.
Symptoms vary from type of birth defects, which are:
Abnormal appearance of the child
Weak physical or mental development
Nervous system issues
Lack of focus
Other abnormalities in baby’s health condition
Fetal disorders can be diagnosed during pregnancy through several medical tests. These tests are usually performed on women with higher pregnancy risks due to family history, overage or lifestyle. Below are given some tests doctors may perform to diagnose fetal disorders:
Treatment for birth defects depends on the condition and severity of the defect. Some fetal disorders can be fixed easily after the birth while others may involve lifetime treatment. Many fetal disorders such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy requires long term treatment and can cause permanent disabilities or even death. The doctor examines the child’s symptoms thoroughly and decides for the best line of treatment according to child’s conditions.
Below are given several treatment methods for birth defects:
Surgery: Surgical procedures can be performed to fix certain fetal disorders and ease of harmful symptoms. Children with birth issues like cleft lip or heart disease can benefit from a surgical procedure.
Medications: Medication is the most common form of treatment for fetal disorders and is used in almost every type of birth defects. Medications such as antidepressants, stimulants, anxiety drugs and neuroleptics can provide relief to the child from severe complications and help them lead a normal life. In many cases, the mother is also prescribed with certain medications to increase the chances of normal delivery.
Counseling and support: Behavioral therapy and counseling allows the child to learn social skills to help interact with other people. Executive function training can help the child improve understanding, reasoning and self control skills. Parents and siblings can also provide necessary support and encourage the child to talk and interact with other kids.
Fetal disorders treatment does contain some side effects which can be mild or severe. Talk to the doctor about these side effects before the treatment. These complications are:
Nausea and vomiting
Bleeding and infection
Post operative care
Care is of main importance in treating fetal disorders. Parents need to be very careful while attending the child. Follow the guidelines given by the health physicist and give medications on time.
Encourage the child to talk to other kids and indulge in common activities.
Give the child all the necessary support to overcome anxiety and depression.
Make sure the child avoids any kind of viral or bacterial infection that could create emergency situations.
If the child suffers from severe or abnormal complications, notify the doctor at once.