- Conceiving at a young age
- Being prepared beforehand
- and Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Avoiding harmful practices
- Being wary of infections
- Taking care of diabetes
- Staying on top of your vaccines
- Going for prenatal screening tests
Down syndrome is among the most common genetic disabilities that can occur. It is a lifelong ailment that we cannot treat.
According to a report by World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 1000 babies are born with Down syndrome worldwide. It is a very high statistic among a population of billions.
Since Down syndrome is a congenital genetic disability, there’s no sure way to avoid it. Experts set some guidelines. They’re said to increase the chance of preventing congenital disabilities from occurring.
There are ongoing research programs that aim to overcome this issue. Till then, there’s no choice but to follow preventative measures that might help in reducing the risk of congenital disabilities.
In this article, you’ll find 10 ways to avoid conceiving with Down syndrome, so keep reading.
What is Down syndrome?
Down syndrome is a genetic disability that occurs at the time of conception. It happens due to extra chromosomes when gametes are being formed.
The effects of Down syndrome are both physical and mental. Mentally, the intellect of an affected person is lower than average. They have difficulties in daily routine tasks.
Physical characteristics are also affected by Down syndrome. It causes the individual to have a flat face, slanted eyes, irregular ear shapes, vast space between toes, etc.
Babies born with Down syndrome are more susceptible to diseases and conditions like ear defects, eye diseases, heart diseases, anemia, leukemia, and many more.
10 ways for prevention of Down syndrome.
Now that we know the basics about Down syndrome, here are some ways to reduce the risks. Following these tips will reduce the chances of all congenital disabilities.
1. Conceiving at a young age
The rate of birth defects is directly proportional to the mother’s age. The difficulties and risks increase the older the mother is.
It is generally advised to plan your family accordingly. Pregnancy before the age of 40 is less risky. If the mother’s age is above 40, she should take special care and precautions throughout the pregnancy period.
2. Being prepared beforehand
Almost half of the pregnancies that occur are unplanned. It is better if the pregnancy preparations are done before conceiving.
Even if the pregnancy is unplanned, the first three months are crucial. This period is when the baby’s organs are forming.
Visit your doctor regularly for check-ups. You should not feel any risk of asking questions during your sessions. It will help you stay calm and active.
3. Maintaining a healthy body weight.
Obesity can cause many complications. If a woman is obese when pregnant, it increases the risk of severe birth problems. A body mass index that’s less than 30 is recommended for a healthy pregnancy. It is beneficial if this weight is achieved before conception.
4. Increasing intake of folic acid
Folic acid, also known as folate, is essential for developing babies. It helps in reducing the risk of major nervous defects. Doctors recommend four hundred micrograms of folic acid every day.
If a mother starts taking advised amounts of folic acid at least one month before she conceives, it tremendously reduces the chance of birth disorders.
There are some times when you can’t start beforehand. Take the recommended amount throughout the pregnancy, even if you missed taking it before pregnancy.
5. Eating a healthy diet.
Folic acid is indeed essential. But it won’t do much if the rest of your diet is unhealthy.
Keeping your diet balanced is extremely important. A developing ay requires proper nutrition.
A mother should avoid junk food.
She should take special care to see that her food is cooked thoroughly. Raw meat can pose a threat.
Eat healthy snacks. Increase intake of fruits and vegetables. Try to go for organic food.
6. Avoiding harmful practices
Acts such as drinking and smoking throughout the pregnancy have incredibly harmful effects on the baby.
It can cause premature birth, miscarriage, or severe congenital disabilities like Down Syndrome, Cleft lip, etc.
It is advised to stop smoking and drinking before you get pregnant. Even if you can’t do it, stop as soon as possible after getting pregnant.
If you work in a place with fumes or live in a high pollution area, try to take measures like wearing a mask, talking to your advisor, or investing in an air purifier.
7. Being wary of infections
Infections and diseases leave your body unarmed against the environment.
You are more susceptible to diseases and attacks when your immune system is compromised. It can affect the baby directly.
So it is essential to take care to prevent infections. Strengthen your immune system, so your body is ready to fight off infections.
If diabetes isn’t controlled when you’re pregnant, it can increase the chances of birth defects. It can also cause seer complications for mothers.
Almost 2-10% of pregnancies can result in gestational diabetes. Taking care to keep it under control is essential.
If you have diabetes even before getting pregnant, talk to your doctor. They will guide you to the best course of action
9. Staying on top of your vaccines
A mother needs to be vaccinated. Vaccines help protect against deadly diseases. They also strengthen our immune systems.
Making sure your body is in top shape is essential. It would be best if you took some vaccines before getting pregnant, like the MMR vaccine. Get all the vaccines recommended by your doctor so your body is ready to fight against pesky diseases.
10. Going for prenatal screening tests
Ultrasounds and prenatal screening tests can detect and identify health risks that can occur.
Early diagnosis of these risks can help in many ways. Doctors can monitor the baby to see if there are any complications.
It will also give you the time to discuss everything with your partner and family. You can make proper decisions after that.
There is no way to avoid Down syndrome altogether. But we’ve listed 10 ways you can reduce Down Syndrome from occurring.
It would be good if you spoke to your doctor about all the possible outcomes so they can guide you accordingly.