Home News Late child bearing increases risk of congenital anomalies – Gynecologist

Late child bearing increases risk of congenital anomalies – Gynecologist

by hr

By Becky John

Dr Aigbe Gregory, a Consultant Gynaecologist, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR), Yaba, Lagos, on Wednesday said late child bearing could increase risk of congenital anomalies in children. Gregory told the news men  in a telephone interview that congenital anomaly was a defect noticeable in a child at birth. “Age is a major risk factor of congenital anomalies or birth defects. “Studies show that congenital anomalies occur in one in 375 deliveries of 45-year-old women while the risk is significantly reduced in younger women. “In 25-year-old women, it is one in 1,600 deliveries,” he said. Gregory said, to reduce the risk of a congenital anomaly, women should have finished child bearing by age 40.

He advised women planning to have children on taking folic acid before conception and at early stage of conception.
“Preventing congenital anomalies is possible. “Studies show that that women who use folic acid before conception and early conception prevents a particular congenital anomaly called neural tube defects,” he said.

According to him, smoking and drinking of alcohol during pregnancy could also lead to birth defects in a newborn.
“Alcohol and smoking can also cause structural defects in unborn babies.
“In a recent study we conducted here in NIMR, close to 45 to 50 per cent of pregnant women are involved in taking alcohol during pregnancy.
“Alcoholic drinks are taken in different forms by these expectant mothers; some take it in herbal mixtures and stouts.
“There is the misconception that it makes their baby grow well. This is very wrong,” he warned.
He advised pregnant women to register for antenatal care at the early stage of their pregnancy and to ensure not only their safety but that of the baby. He also enjoined women on the importance of taking healthy and balanced diets.“Pregnant women should also cultivate the habit of reading books on pregnancy and baby’s health; knowledge is power,” he said.

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