A teratogens  is an agent that can cause  or increase the chances of a birth defect. It is usually something in the environment that the mother has been exposed to during pregnancy . It could be a prescribed medication , a street drug , alcohol use , chemical exposure or an infection present in the mother. All of these can increase the risk of a baby being born with birth defect.

What are the most sensitive  periods of teratogen in pregnancy ?

After conception , it takes about  6 to 9 days for the  egg  to implant in the uterus. After implantation, a common blood supply exist between the mother and the embryo. Something in the mother’s blood can cross over to the developing fetus. For example, for teratogen to interfere with the closure of the neural tube, the exposure should occur between 3.5 to 4.5 weeks of pregnancy. There are some organ systems that are sensitive to teratogens throughout pregnancy  such as the central nervous system. This includes the brain and spinal cord. Alcohol is one teratogen which affects the central nervous system. Use of alcohol anytime during pregnancy has the potential to  cause birth defects  and health problems in a baby because the central nervous system is sensitive to teratogen throughout all the nine months of pregnancy. That is why it is important to avoid alcohol consumption completely during pregnancy . read more

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Tips for Healthy Pregnancy

Having a baby is a big deal. It can be overwhelming and exciting at the same time. There are steps you can take to get a healthy pregnancy.

Guidelines for a healthy pregnancy

  • Go for all your prenatal appointments throughout pregnancy .
  •  Do not take any medications  ( prescription and over the counter) without the doctor’s OK.
  • Do not smoke .
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Do not take illegal drugs.
  • Eat healthy .  You’ll need extra protein, calcium and  iron. You need to talk to your doctor about how many calories you need during pregnancy.
  • Stay active unless your doctor suggests  otherwise. Exercise can help you feel better, reduce  discomfort and fatigue . It  promotes faster recovery after delivery. Waking and swimming is actually recommended. However strenuous exercises  and sports such as  roller –  skating and horse back riding is not recommended.
  • Avoid saunas , steam baths  and hot tubs . High heat can harm your baby.
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    Pregnancy Risk factors

    Are you planning a pregnancy ? It is important to find out if you have a risk factor. Some women have a greater chance of high risk pregnancy because of certain risk factors. These include genetic background,  medical condition and lifestyle.

    Pregnancy risk factors include the following :

  • Being younger than 18 or older than 35 years
  • Being underweight or underweight
  • Having anemia
  • Not eating healthy
  • Having giving birth more than 4 times
  • Having a previous preterm birth
  • Having a previous pregnancy loss
  • Having giving birth to a very large or small baby
  • Having a family history of genetic disease or previous baby with genetic defects
  • Substance abuse such ( cigarette, alcohol, drugs)
  • Having a medical condition such as  diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease
  • Having a low socioeconomic status
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    Small for Gestational Age SGA : Know the causes

    Small for gestational age is used to refer to a baby who is smaller than the usual size  for the number of weeks of pregnancy. These babies usually have the birth weights below the 10th percentile for babies of the same gestational  age. They may appear physically and neurologically mature  but are smaller than other babies of the same gestational age. SGA babies may be proportionately small (equally small all over) or they may be of normal length and size but have lower weight and body mass. This condition can occur in babies who are premature, full term or post term. read more

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    Fetal Blood Sampling

    Fetal blood sampling is  a procedure  to remove a small amount of  blood from the fetus during  pregnancy. In the past, this procedure was used only during labor through the mother’s open cervix to test blood from the fetal scalp for oxygenation. The procedure is usually done by specialized trained  perinatologist, a doctor who specializes in the care of the fetus in high risk pregnancies. It is done as part of diagnosing fetal problems  at various times of pregnancy.

    fetal blood sampling

    It can be done in the following situations : read more

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    What to do before your next pregnancy

    It is important to take certain steps to reduce the risk  for both you and your baby before your next pregnancy.  Proper health before getting pregnant is very important. The first few weeks of a child’s development is very crucial. However most women do not know that they are pregnant until several weeks after conception. Planning ahead and taking care of  yourself is the best thing you can do before you become pregnant .

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    One of the most important things you need to do is to go for a preconception care. During this visit , your health care provider  asses  your overall health  and identify  potential risk factors that can complicate your pregnancy. By preparing in advance , you can become your healthiest before becoming pregnant. A preconception read more

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