If there is one worry that probably plagues all mothers to be, it would be the fear of the baby being born with one of so many possible genetic birth defects.
Thanks to modern technology, many genetic birth defects can be detected prior to birth and many can be avoided by understanding their nature and causes.
However, in spite of all the advances in medical sciences, it is not possible to detect or predict incidence of these and as many as one in 33 babies is born with one or another genetic birth defect. There are literally thousands of them, but the most common genetic or partially genetic birth defects are:
Heart Defects: These are genetic birth defects that occur in more than a million babies worldwide every year according to estimates and are a leading cause of infant death in the world.
These birth defects happen soon after conceptions takes place and may consist of a hole in the heart or even more serious malformations such as one of more valves or chambers of the heart. These may be characterized by bluish tinge to the skin, low blood pressure, breathing or feeding difficulties and poor weight gain by the baby.
Neural tube defects: This is another of most common genetic birth defects with about 324,000 a year being born with some babies developing this fairly early on in gestation.
Neural tube defects cause a baby to be born with exposed brain or spinal cord. Spina Bifida is one of the defects caused by the incomplete closure of the embryonic neural tube and which is what the ultra sound technician will be looking to spot when he or she examines a pregnant woman.
Blood disorders: More than three hundred thousand babies worldwide are born with genetic defects that have to do with blood.
Sickle cell disease is one kind of blood disorder where the red blood cells assume a sickle shape which decreases life expectancy of an individual. Thalassemia is another blood disorder that causes anemia due to abnormal formation of hemoglobin molecules.
Down’s Syndrome: The birth disorder that was earlier known as Mongolism and which causes mental retardation along with a typical cast to the features of a baby is responsible for over 200,000 genetic birth defects a year.
G6PD Deficiency: This is a disorder that is an enzyme deficiency that creates intolerance to certain medications, infections or certain pollens.