Birth Defects - Frequently Asked Questions

Dr. Simi Paknikar
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Simi Paknikar, MD
Last Updated on Nov 21, 2016
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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which doctor should I consult for birth defects?

Birth defects detected during early screening can be discussed with the obstetrician and gynaecologist. Those that are detected after the baby is born can be discussed with the pediatrician, depending on the birth defect a specialist can be consulted in either case

2. What causes intellectual disability?

The exact cause of intellectual disability cannot be pinpointed in most cases. Genetic causes like an extra chromosome due to accidents or mutations in the genetic material are the next best reason for it.

3. Does folic acid prevent birth defects?

Consuming 400 micrograms of folic acid every day during early pregnancy prevents birth defects of the brain and spinal cord by more than 70%.

4. What are the most preventable birth defects and their causes?
  • Neural tube defects can be prevented by consuming 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight by the mother (and not being obese) prevents heart defects in babies.
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) that produces smaller babies with physical and learning disabilities can be prevented by completely avoiding alcohol during pregnancy.

5. Are mono-chorionic twins prone to birth defects?

Mono-chorionic twins are identical twins that have only one placenta but may have the same or separate amniotic sacs. Twins who tend to have a low-birth weight have an increased risk of conditions like mental retardation.

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