Have you ever heard of a birth
defect? Do you know what they are? Let us look a little deeper into what these
are, how they are caused, and what they affect.
First and foremost, what is a birth defect? A birth defect is a problem
that occurs in babies who are still present in the womb. The babies tend to
have a problem with growing certain organs or body parts. In the world known
today, they are about 4,000 different kinds and types of birth defect. And
almost one of every thirty-three babies in the U.S alone is born with some type
of birth defect. But, how are these caused?
A birth defect can be caused by many factors, but most of the time the
factor is unknown to doctors. One cause could be a problem with genetics. Every
human offspring receives half of each parent’s chromosomes through a process
called meiosis, resulting in the offspring having 23 pairs of chromosomes, or
in total 46 chromosomes. Chromosomes determine the physical traits the
offspring will inherit from its parents and also include DNA. But, if something
happens during this process and the offspring receives too little or too many
chromosomes, it can cause a birth defect. A leading birth defect caused by a
genetic error is Down Syndrome. Another factor is the environment. The mother
plays a big role in her offspring’s health and condition. For example, there
are many medicines that should not be taken while a mother is pregnant.
Substances like nicotine and alcohol abuse can also highly impact the health of
the offspring. Also, if the mother is not getting the correct amount of
nutrient, this can affect the condition of the offspring as well as infections
and sicknesses. Now, what really get affected by birth defects?
If a baby is born with a body
part missing or an organ is affected and not formed correctly, it is called a
structural birth defect. These can range from the most common, a heart defect,
to defects such as clubfoot, and missing or abnormally structured limbs. All
these can, in the long run, can cause things like paralysis and disabilities,
along with struggles with everyday actions. Another type of birth defects is
metabolic birth defects. Metabolic birth defects affect the way the bodies can
produce the chemicals needed to do things such as break down food. But, one of
the main effects of birth defects is, sadly, death. Birth defects are the leading
killer of babies in the first year of them being out of the womb.
In conclusion, we can see that birth defects can impact many people’s
lives, not only to the babies but the parents as well. We can also see how many
things can affect the offspring’s health, and why it is very important to take
care of your body. Even though some things cannot be avoided, and doctors may
not know why we should all take it as a blessing to be alive.