Birth Defects that are Often Missed by New Parents
You’ve just welcomed your beautiful new baby home, and you couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s been a long journey getting to this point, and you can’t wait to start celebrating all of the beautiful moments that lie ahead.
But as you get closer to your little one, you realize that something’s not quite right. Your baby has a congenital disability.
Suddenly, the joy of being a new parent is replaced by fear and uncertainty. You don’t know what to do next, but you want to do whatever you can to help your child.
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder in which the brain or damage to the developing brain affects a baby’s capacity to regulate its muscles.
Scientists believed that CP was caused mainly by a lack of oxygen during childbirth. However, now they think this is responsible for only a tiny percentage of cases.
CP can impact a person’s ability to walk, talk, eat, and even breathe. It is crucial to get an early diagnosis to receive the necessary treatments and therapies.
There are different types of CP, depending on which muscles are affected and to what degree.
- The most prevalent is spastic CP, which affects around 80% of people with CP. People with spastic CP have rigid muscles and may experience jerky movements.
- Athetoid CP is another type that affects about 15 percent of people with CP. People with athetoid CP have muscles constantly in motion, making it hard to control their body movements.
- The least frequent form, ataxic CP, affects about five percent of persons with CP. People with ataxic CP have problems with balance and coordination.
Parents must consult a Cerebral Palsy Guide to understand better the condition and how to deal with it because there could be many other causes such as prematurity, genetic disorders, and infections.
Most kids with CP need some therapy to help them develop new skills and learn how to use their muscles.
CP is typically treated with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Some kids might also need to see a doctor specializing in treating CP.
There is no cure for CP, but most individuals can live independently as adults if it is detected and treated early.
If you think your child might have CP, speak to your doctor. They might assist you in locating a professional who can diagnose and treat your child. Early intervention is key to helping kids with CP reach their full potential.
Cleft Lip and Palate
A cleft is a split or opening in the upper lip, the roof of the mouth (palate), or both, caused by abnormalities during fetal development.
The formation of craniofacial features that develop in an unborn youngster fails to close completely.
The most common birth abnormalities are cleft lip and cleft palate. They usually occur as isolated malformations, but they’re also linked to various inherited genetic disorders or syndromes.
The cleft lip and palate may affect feeding, communication, and hearing abilities. The symptoms of this congenital disability may not be evident at first. It’s not until the child starts to eat solid foods and drools excessively that parents may become concerned.
Having a child born with a cleft may be traumatic, but cleft lip and palate defects are repairable. Typically, surgery to repair the cleft lip and palate problem is required, followed by therapy.
With the proper treatment, most babies can recover full function and have a more normal appearance.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is one of the most prevalent birth defects, affecting approximately one in 100 newborns. It is a condition with the heart that is present at birth. The defect can range from mild to life-threatening.
Symptoms of CHD may not be evident until later in life when the child begins to exercise or has a fever. Some children with CHD have no symptoms and are only diagnosed after an autopsy.
There are several forms of congenital heart disease, but the most prevalent is known as Ventricular Septal Defect.
A VSD defect is the cause of a hole in the wall between the two ventricles of the heart. Blood flows from the left ventricle into the right through this opening.
The hole can be small, medium, or large. Most babies with a small VSD have no symptoms, and the gap closes on its own within the first year of life. However, babies with a large VSD may have heart failure and other complications.
CHD is treated with surgery to repair or close the hole in the heart. In some cases, doctors may use medication to help manage CHD symptoms. If you think your child may have CHD, it is essential to talk to your doctor.
Cystic fibrosis affects the lungs and digestive system. Babies with CF have difficulty breathing because of thick, sticky mucus in their lungs. This mucus also clogs the pancreas and prevents it from making enzymes that help digest food.
The symptoms of CF often include cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Affected people may also have salty-tasting skin, frequent lung infections, poor growth, and infertility.
There is no cure for CF, but treatments can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.
If you think your child may have CF, it is critical to talk to your doctor so they can order a CF test. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for helping children with CF live long, healthy lives.
The treatment may include daily antibiotics to prevent lung infections, pancreatic enzyme supplements to help digest food, and chest physical therapy to loosen mucus in the lungs.
We all want to bring healthy and hale children into the world, and it is vital to be aware of the common congenital disabilities that may go unnoticed.
As a parent, you can make a difference in your child’s life by being vigilant and seeking medical attention when you suspect something may be wrong. Many children with birth defects can lead happy, healthy lives with early diagnosis and treatment.
Birth defects and injuries may affect you, a parent, too. If you have given birth to a child with a congenital disability, you may experience shock, anger, sadness, and guilt.
You might worry about how the defect will affect your child’s life and family. You are not alone. Many families face these challenges every day.
Support groups and organizations can help you cope with these feelings and provide resources and information.
Remember, you’re never alone, and there are solutions out there.