How You Can Have a Healthy Baby
The starting point for a healthy baby is a healthy sperm and a healthy egg. And the time to start preparing for this conjunction is before an infant is conceived. There are factors that need to be checked in the early days after conception if an infant is to be healthy & normal. It’s during the first sixty days that the baby organs are being formed and any hazard introduced during this period can retard or skew the formation of organs. The combining factors that determine whether an infant is born healthy or not are wide ranging. But to the modern medicine and greater awareness among individuals, it’s possible to control many of these factors. Below are factors that play a critical role, and how parents can ensure a happy birth day for their awaiting newborn.
The best period for child bearing is between 20 and 30 years. Below 18 years, there are dangers that threaten an infant. One is placenta either does not function normally or does not grow normally. This risk can lead to slow/delayed growth of the fetus since it gets a limited supply of its needs. Also, because the child gets oxygen via the placenta, the deprived infant can also become short of air and die in the womb. The other danger in a young mother is immature labor with risks such as poor temperature control, immature gut, respiratory difficulties, iron deficiency anemia, low-resistance to infections, and consequent gastrointestinal ailments to the infant. If the mother is 35 years and above, the mentioned risks threaten. Also, there has been found to be the prevalence of Down’s syndrome infants among mothers of 40 years and above.
Excessive alcohol intake or smoking by the parent (father or mother) is harmful to the baby. In the case of the father, it can cause weak or abnormal sperm. At times, this can be the cause of uncalled abortions. What happens here is that fetus fails to develop. Around the 8th week, bleeding will be followed by abortion. A pregnant mother who smokes limits air supply to her infant and runs the danger of delivering a premature and low weight child. Research shows that smoking thirty cigarettes per day can reduce a child’s weight by 10%, thus leading to retarded physical and mental development in later stages of development. While there's no proof that an old glass of wine can cause harm to your baby, it’s better to know that alcohol in large amounts is linked with congenital disorders.
Weight Control and Diet
Excessive weight is damaging to both, baby and mother. It’s vital to allow up to 28lbs of weight gain during pregnancy. Ideally, weight gain between 20th to 30th weeks brings the risk of pre-eclampsia (raised blood pressure, swelling of feet, ankles, and hands, protein in the urine) which increases the risk of a child before and during labor. The risk varies in proportion to the mother’s blood pressure. Also, premature labor leads to high proportions of small sizes infants many of whom don’t survive. Therefore, sticking to the right diet is essential, since nutrients pass directly from the parent (mother) to the unborn child. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia which has risks such as premature labor and placental insufficiency for the infant. Calcium is one of the essential macro elements for the growth of the fetus. The baby's teeth start to form before it’s born and calcium is a rich mineral needed in the body for strong, healthy teeth or bones. Folic acid deficiency leads to Megaloblastic anemia in pregnant mothers. Research also shows that folic acid supplements can lower the risks of congenital disorders such as Spina Bifida in a child.
Chronic Mental Disorder
Besides anemia, other chronic diseases in the mother can also pose a significant threat to the infant survival and well-being. For example, without treatment of diabetes, the chances of conception are minimal, and if a woman becomes pregnant, the mortality rate for both the child and the mother becomes very high. The complications that may arise here range from congenital disorders to stillbirth. It’s critical that diabetes be kept under constant & precise control. On the other hand, uncontrolled blood pressure reduces blood supply to the uterus, and as a result, the child is small, dysmature or may fail to survive.
Although routine x-rays don’t harm the baby in a womb, high levels of radiation can lead to congenital disorders, as well as damage the child’s genes. The rays can also predispose the child to leukemia during teenage hood or adolescence. To play safe, a pregnant mother should avoid x-rays unless it is essential.
The risk period for Rubella is within the first three months of pregnancy. If a pregnant mother contracts the disease during this time, there's a likelihood that the infection will affect the development of the early fetal organs thus leading to congenital deafness, heart disease or blindness. Most people contract rubella during childhood, a mild attack that goes unnoticed and confers life-long immunity. However, it’s possible through a blood test to check whether this has occurred. It’s also possible though rubella inoculation to confer the mild version of the disease on a married, non pregnant woman so that she develops antibodies against it. In case a step has not been taken and the pregnant mother discovers that she has not suffered the disease earlier, it’s vital that she takes precaution during the first three months of her pregnancy. Essentially, the mother should avoid the company of young children among whom the risk of the illness is very high.
The fetus nutrients are passed from the mother via the placenta. Unfortunately, this is also the passage where other substances like drugs pass through to the fetus and cause harm. Congenital disorders can emanate from drugs taken in the first trimester since this is when organs are being formed. During the second trimester, drugs can hinder the physiological development of the fetus. For example, tetracycline's taken during this time can lead to yellow discoloration of the milk teeth in a growing baby. During the third trimester, drugs can cause ugly and yellow staining of the permanent teeth. In particular, thyroid drugs can lead to abnormal growth of the infant’s thyroid gland.
Finally, it should be noted that some drugs like anti-cancer drugs need not be administered at any stage during pregnancy.