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Mal-developments may occur

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

A birth development may sometimes happen during first trimester.

While growing in the womb, some babies may have developmental issues. This happens in 2-3% of babies. Some problems are mild such as cleft lip but serious issues like hole-in-heart may need surgical correction.

Can birth defects be recognised?

Many birth development problems can be diagnosed during pregnancy. We can use ultrasound scan to detect these issues. More in-depth tests, such as genetic test and amniocentesis may also be done. These tests are recommended for older mums with strong family history.

While not all abnormalities can be identified by ultrasound scans, many can be. When a detailed scan is normal, risk of a major abnormality drops to <1%. Some structural problems like heart defects may recur in subsequent pregnancies. Take folic acid to reduce the risk.

What are the common birth problems?

  • Cleft lip or palate

  • Heart problems

  • Clubfoot

  • Spina bifida

Is birth defect preventable?

Before pregnancy, women should follow these steps to reduce the risk.

#1 Vaccinate against chicken pox and rubella

#2 Ensure no active herpes infection

#3 Never too late for folic acid - at least 1000 microgram a day

#4 Avoid excessive alcohol

#5 Beware of medications like Vitamin A products and tetracycline antibiotics

By following these pregnancy precautions, women can help reduce their babies' risk of birth defects.

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