Advice to pregnant mothers

There are a number of prenatal tests that can be carried out for those mothers concerned about the potential risks of having a baby with a restricted growth disorder.

Prenatal tests

Chorionic villus sampling is one such test, whereby a catheter is fitted through the abdominal wall or vagina. It is fitted to analyse the chorion cells, which become embedded in the wall of the uterus following the fertilization and the formation of the cell mass. An ultrasound is used to identify chorionic villi, the previously mentioned cells, which can be analysed to identify single gene, chomosonal and metabolic defects in the embryo. The test is usually performed at around 10 to 12 weeks and you can expect results within two weeks of the test.

Amniocentesis involves pass amniotic fluid through the abdominal wall. The fluid is then extracted and analysed for chromosomal, bio chemical, metabolic and neural tube defects. The results of this test are usually available three to four weeks later.

Fetoscopy

In a fetoscopy, the fetus and mother are sedated. An endoscope is fed through the abdominal wall to the uterus where a needle is then inserted into the tube to extract fetal liver skin and blood for testing. The treatment can also be used to effectively transfuse blood etc. However, it is an option used less and less by patients on the NHS as other methods have superseded it, meaning only specialist clinics tend to offer the treatment.

Ultrasound scan

Finally, a more straightforward ultrasound scan can prove equally effective. These can be used to measure and scan the fetus to check for physical or skeletal abnormalities .It can be carried out anytime between week 16 and 20 of the pregnancy and offers little or no risk to the mother or child.

Once the condition has been assessed, it is more important than ever to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle away from alcohol and cigarettes.

What to look out for

Some conditions will remain undetected, so it’s important to stay vigilant of things such as joint movement, breathing and sleeping patterns when the child is first born. Keep your eyes on the development of their motor skills. If they are noticeably slow in learning to sit up, crawl or walk, it may be best advised to consult your doctor.

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