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Fewer Birth Defects Seen in Planned Pregnancies

Our Illinois birth injury lawyers appreciate that expectant mothers are constantly on the lookout for new information about the best ways to ensure that their child develops normally. Preventing birth defects and birth injuries are a paramount concern. Yet it is hard to keep all of the information straight about what does or does not constitute best practices when it comes to having a healthy child develop. We appreciate that it is always best to place the most weight on the advice of trusted medical experts.

However, that does not mean that mothers should take whatever is said without question. In fact, it is important for expecting women to be active in their own care by asking questions to figure what is best in their own case. In fact, the research and questioning is best begun even before one is pregnant so that appropriate actions can be taken immediately.

Last week, US News published a story that explored how planning a pregnancy is one important way to limit the risks of birth injuries, defects, and other complications. The planning is particularly important for women who are taking medications for chronic conditions. Depending on the specific circumstances, taking those medications while pregnant can have serious effects on the child’s development. It is important to be very alert to those risks by asking professionals about the potential dangers. If the medication is dangerous it should generally be stopped immediately if possible. However, women who are not planning a pregnancy may not realize they are pregnancy until weeks later, after they have already been taking the potentially harmful medication.

As the medical director for the March of Dimes explained, “Women should speak with their physician about their plans to become pregnancy. If they have a condition that requires medication, that’s an ideal time to switch to medications that have less risk, if necessary.” In addition, this allows the woman’s underlying condition for which she was taking the medication to stabilize.

Each Chicago birth injury lawyer at our firms appreciates that this planning can literally have life or death consequences. About one in every thirty three births involve some sort of abnormal development according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of those defects are life threatening. In fact, defects are the leading cause of death for children under the age of one. The CDC explains that the majority of defects occur in the earliest stages of the pregnancy, often before the mother even knows that she is pregnant.

One neonatal expert clarified that the most dangerous time for a developing child is weeks three and eight. It is then that the organs are developing. If the mother is taking dangerous drugs at that time, the baby is at an increased risk of having developmental problems during that crucial development period. That must be guarded against. Women with seizure disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, autoimmune diseases, and others need to be particularly on the look-out for this, because they are likely to be taking medication that might pose a risk to a developing child. The risks can be minimized by working with an obstetrician before getting pregnant to switch to less-dangerous medications where possible.

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