Congenital Birth Defect
What are some common congenital birth defects? How can you gage your future child's risk?
It's a thought no pregnant woman wants to think about: the prospect that your child will have birth defects. Here are some of the things you might subject your fetus to, the birth defects they have been known to cause, and how you can keep your unborn child healthy.
• Alcohol. If you drink alcohol on a regular basis, you want to stop while you're pregnant. Drinking alcohol can lead to mental retardation and growth defects.
• Chemotherapy. Drugs that are used to treat cancer and psoriasis can actually be harmful for pregnant women. You need to consult your doctor about what you need to do about your chemotherapy and pregnancy needs. Chemotherapy and the drugs used to treat cancer can lead to miscarriage and other abnormalities.
• Lead. If you work in a paint manufacturing plant, printing, ceramics, or glass manufacturing, your job can be harmful for your fetus. When you work at these plants you're subjecting your fetus to lead poisoning, which can lead to miscarriage or even a stillbirth.
• X-Ray therapy. If you undergo an X-Ray during your pregnancy, be careful. You may be hurting your fetus. Be sure to tell your radiologist about your pregnancy, if he or she doesn't already know about your condition. It can lead to mental retardation and growth defects in your child.
• Antithyroid drugs. These are drugs you may be taking to prevent or treat an overactive thyroid gland. These drugs can actually lead to an underactive or oversized thyroid in your unborn child.
• Organic mercury. If you unknowingly eat meat contaminated with mercury, it could be problematic for your child. It can lead to brain disorders in a fetus.
• Thalidomide. This is typically used as a sleeping aid. If you have trouble sleeping and take thalidomide, you may want to stop taking the drug during your pregnancy. It can lead to growth defects and other abnormalities in your child.
• Lithium. If you use lithium to treat manic depression, you'll want to talk with your doctor about whether you should be taking the drug. It has been known to sometimes lead to heart disease in unborn children.