Thursday, 12 March 2020

Full Text: How To Prevent Birth Defects

Compiled by Zimbabwe Online Health Centre

The day is commemorated all over the world on the 3rd of March.

 It is a day set aside to raise awareness on the serious global problem and call for more surveillance, prevention, care and research to help babies and children.

Birth defects contribute to child mortality and in some families may cause divorce or even family separation.

Many birth defects are preventable but once a baby is born with them curing them is difficult.
Prevention: Couples can avoid unnecessary emotional trauma of having a baby with congenital birth defects by:  Planning a pregnancy in advance and talk to your doctor about what one should be doing.

 This include taking supplements, vaccinated, stop smoking and alcohol intake,  stop all teratogenic drugs or switch to other drugs,  make sure chronic conditions like Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus are well controlled. All this helps reduce the incidence of birth defects.

During pregnancy regular visits to the doctor or health practitioner for checkups is also important. If problems are to arise they are detected early and medical interventions can also be done early. Health seeking behavior is also important.

 Pregnancy comes with its physiological changes and for the first pregnancy one might not be able to tell the normal from the abnormal but if you visit a health facility one might be advised on what to do early.

 Husbands and even relatives at home should support pregnant women. Stressful environment is not good and might also affect the mother affecting the foetus and might contribute to birth defects. If one is not sure whether they are pregnant or not always notify when new drugs are prescribed or when an X-ray is offered as exposure to these also contribute to birth defects. The most crucial months of all are the first three to four months (1st Trimester). This is the period the foetus is developing therefore any disturbance to this process causes birth defects.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by World Health Organization (WHO) goal 3 says: Good health and well being for people. It aims to reduce under five mortality in every country. Birth defects contributes a percentage to those deaths therefore fighting against birth defects is fighting for well being. Prevention is better than cure.

 Let's fight birth defects.

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