Heart disease in children may start during pregnancy — study

Lara Adejoro

About eight in 1,000 babies are born with a heart problem. This can sometimes be called a heart defect, congenital heart disease, or congenital heart defect.

While most of these babies can survive and grow into adulthood, and can have children themselves, experts say this is one of the reasons expectant mothers need to be aware of their health during the gestation period.

Experts say that if a child has a congenital heart defect, it means that he was born with a problem in the structure of his heart.

“Some congenital heart defects in children are simple and do not require treatment. Other congenital heart defects in children are more complex and may require multiple surgeries performed over a period of years,” Mayo Clinic experts explain.

Experts warn that learning about your child’s congenital heart defect can help you understand the condition and know what to expect in the months and years to come.

Reacting, Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist at Lagos State Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Dr Omolola Lamina-Alaaya, says what parents do before and during pregnancy can have a significant influence on the heart of the child. child.

Dr Lamina-Alaaya says a healthy heart starts in childhood and a bad health habit before and during pregnancy can predispose a child to heart disease, diabetes, obesity and heart attacks adulthood.

Speaking in an interview with PUNCH HealthWisethe expert said that alcohol, drugs like vitamin A, antimalarials are also known to affect the foundations of the heart.

“Basically heart problems start even before the child is born. From the first month of pregnancy, usually about three weeks before the mother misses her first period, the heart begins to form and some problems start from this point.

“As much as possible, we encourage mothers to stay away from anything that can affect heart formation.

“So, you have to prepare for the pregnancy. As soon as the mother notices that she is pregnant, she is advised to consult her obstetrician-gynecologist doctor for a medical check-up, a detailed anamnesis and a follow-up of the mother and of the child.

“Alcohol, drugs like vitamin A and antimalarials are also known to affect the foundations of the heart.

“We encourage pregnant women to stay away from herbal concoctions as they are unsure which one will affect the foundation of the heart.

“In other cases, if the mother has diabetes and it’s not well controlled, it can also affect the baby.

“A mother’s overall health should be healthy before and during pregnancy and she should be careful about what she puts in her mouth,” Lamina-Alaaya said.

She noted that if a family member of the mother has a history of heart disease or if the mother has had a history of abortion, it can predispose the unborn child to heart disease.

“The mother should maintain a healthy lifestyle. She should eat healthy foods and take her routine vitamins as prescribed,” the specialist added.

Stating categories of heart-related problems, Lamina-Alaaya explained that congenital heart problems begin when the heart forms in the womb, while acquired heart diseases develop from other factors after birth, ranging infections, diet and weight of the child.

She noted that heart disease may not show up until a child’s first or second decade.

“There are congenital heart diseases often referred to as ‘hole in the heart’, and the problems you have with the heart start inside the womb when the heart is forming.

“However, there is another part that we call ‘acquired heart disease’. This happens after the child is born and it can start as early as possible once a child is born.

“For congenital heart disease, these have to do with the structure of the heart, the way the heart is formed and you have various holes in the heart, which will only show up when the child is born.

“Some manifest as soon as the child is born, others may take about a month or six weeks after the child is born before you see the manifestations.

“Acquired heart disease can come from nutrition, how the child is fed or if the child is obese, which is what we’re starting to see these days because a lot of people have this idea that the more they feed their child, or the more the baby is chubby the child looks, society accepts that the child is healthy, but these are problems that also affect the heart and they begin to rise.

“Clinical manifestation will occur when the child begins to develop severe symptoms in the first or second decade,” she added.

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