- 0 Comments
The prenatal stage is one of the most crucial stage in every child’s developmental journey. During this stage, a single-celled zygote slowly develops into a fetus. It is also at the stage that vital parts of the body develop.
This stage of development is very critical. Development during the prenatal stage is the foundation of the quality of life they will have. Should the mother encounter any complications during this stage, the child’s future and development will be greatly affected. Birth defects and life-long disabilities can develop as a result of such complications.
However, certain birth defects and life-long disabilities can be prevented. Various studies have listed several ways to prevent such birth defect and life-long disabilities.
- Get enough nutrition
Maternal malnutrition is one of the factors that causes developmental delays and disabilities in the child.
Iodine, along with other minerals such as calcium and iron are important for the fetus’s development. A lack in iodine can result in profound mental retardation and several brain impairments in the child.
Folic acid is another important vitamin that is needed for the fetus’s development. This vitamin is vital to the growth of the fetus’s spinal cord and brain. A lack of this vitamin during pregnancy can cause severe birth defects known as neural tube defects.
- Reduce stress levels during pregnancy
Feeling stressed during the pregnancy is common. However, some studies have shown that severe emotional stress during pregnancy can lead to diabetes, hypertension and metabolic disorders in the child. Studies have also shown that severe emotional stress is linked to the development of attention deficits, cognitive performance deficits, anxiety, depression, autism and schizophrenia.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle
Women who are obese before and during their pregnancy are at a higher risk for complication during pregnancy. They are at risk for spontaneous abortions and stillbirth. Children are also at a greater risk of childhood obesity and diabetes.
- Avoid certain environmental factors
Environmental factors such as exposure to lead and mercury often result in congenital anomalies, an increased risk for spontaneous abortions and stillbirth.
- Consult the doctor before taking any medication
Certain medications can cause serious birth defects in the fetus if it is taken during pregnancy. As such, always consult the doctor before taking any form of medication. This also includes over-the-counter medications and dietary or herbal products.
- Avoid drinking alcohol at all
All types of alcohol, including wine and beer, is extremely harmful to the fetus during pregnancy. It can cause spontaneous abortions, stillbirth and a range of life-long physical, behavioural and intellectual disabilities.
- Avoid smoking cigarettes
Smoking during pregnancy greatly increase the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as well as the chances of a low birth weight and birth defects in the fetus. The nicotine present in cigarettes restricts the blood flow into the fetus’s brain and can damage the developing fetus’s brain.
As parents, you only want the best for your child and to provide them with the best opportunities possible for the future. As such, the hard work starts from the moment you have decided to get pregnant. Though you have to be extra cautious during the 9 months of pregnancy, being able to provide a bright future for your child will be worth all the extra effort placed.
However, it is important to note that genetics play a substantial role in your child’s development as well. As much as you do your best to control for all external factors, if there is a chromosomal mismatch between the parents’ genes or a history of disabilites, then the occurrence of disabilities is, unfortunately, unavoidable.
Raise Smart Kid. (2015, August 26). Fetal Brain Development: What To Avoid, What To Eat During Pregnancy. Retrieved from raisesmartkid.com: https://www.raisesmartkid.com/pre-natal-to-1-year-old/2-articles/19-babys-brain-development-during-pregnancy
Baxter, C. (2014, July). Prenatal Risk Factors for Developmental Delay in Newcomer Children. Retrieved from Caring for Kids New to Canada: https://www.kidsnewtocanada.ca/mental-health/prenatal-risk
Skeaff, S. A. (2011, February 3). Iodine Deficiency in Pregnancy: The Effect on Neurodevelopment in the Child. Nutrients, 3(2), 265-273.
Seckl, J., & Holmes, M. (2007). Mechanisms of disease: glucocorticoids, their placental metabolism and fetal ‘programming’ of adult pathophysiology. Natural clincal practice, 3, 479-488.
Talge, N., Neal, C., & Glover, V. (2007). Antenatal maternal stress and long-term effects on child neurodevelopment: how and why? Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, and allied disciplines, 48, 245-261.
Chu, S., Kim, S., & Lau, C. (2007, September). Maternal obesity and risk of stillbirth: a metaanalysis. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 197(3), 223-228.
Leddy, M. A., Power, M. L., & Schulkin, J. (2008). The Impact of Maternal Obesity on Maternal and Fetal Health. Reviews in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1(4), 170-178.