The causes of a mother having Down syndrome baby are not yet known. However, there are several factors that are thought to increase the risk of pregnant women giving birth to Down syndrome baby. The risk factors are ranging from genetic disorders, heredity, to unhealthy habits.
Down syndrome is a disease that makes sufferers have learning difficulties, growth and development barriers, and distinctive physical forms. Some physical features possessed by Down syndrome baby are the short neck, small head size, slightly flat face, distinctive eye shape, short body, and short fingers. Even some children born with this condition also suffer from congenital heart disease, hearing loss, and thyroid problems.
Causes of Down syndrome Baby in Pregnancy
Down syndrome occurs due to genetic disorders that cause DNA components to form abnormally. This condition causes the growth and function of organs of the fetus to be abnormal.
Unfortunately, until now it has not been known exactly what causes a baby experiencing these abnormalities. Nevertheless, several studies have found that there are several factors that can increase the risk of a woman giving birth to Down syndrome baby. The factors are:
Pregnant at an Older Age
As getting older, the risk of a mother pregnant a Down syndrome baby will increase. Some studies state that the risk of giving birth to a baby with this syndrome will be higher in pregnant women over the age of 35 years.
This may happen because the older of a woman’s age, the quality of her eggs will decrease. Therefore, it can cause interference with the formation of genetic components during fertilization. However, this cannot be used as the main benchmark because many pregnant women under 35 years old also give birth to children with Down syndrome.
Have a History of Giving Birth to a Child with Down syndrome
The risk of a mother pregnant a baby with Down syndrome will also increase if she has previously given birth to a baby suffering from this condition. Although very rare, Down syndrome can also be inherited from parents.
Therefore, periodic pregnancy checks are needed to determine whether there are genetic abnormalities in the fetus that indicate the presence of Down syndrome or not.
Smoking and Consuming Alcohol during Pregnancy
Pregnant women who often consume alcohol or smoke are also said to have a higher risk of having a baby with Down syndrome. This is because both of these bad habits can make the genetic component or DNA of the fetus more susceptible to damage and are not formed properly. Then it will cause Down syndrome.
Frequent Exposure to Pollution and Toxic Substances
Another risk factor is exposure to pollution and toxic substances during pregnancy. This pollution exposure can occur when pregnant women inhale cigarette smoke, motor vehicles, or factory smoke. While the toxic substances are from pesticides, factory waste, to heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury.
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Malnutrition during Pregnancy
Adequate nutrition plays a very important role in a healthy pregnancy. This also applies to reduce the risk of Down syndrome in the baby. According to some health research, pregnant women who lack certain nutrients such as folate, protein, iron, vitamin D, and omega-3s are said to be at higher risk for giving birth to Down syndrome baby.
To stay healthy during pregnancy, you need to avoid all of those risk factors. In addition, do a routine obstetric examination to the doctor. In diagnosing Down syndrome, the doctor will conduct a series of medical examinations which include ultrasonography (USG) and genetic tests (DNA testing) on the baby.