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Society urged to be aware of scientific and medical factors for birth defects.

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Communities should be conscious of medical and scientific risk factors that can lead to women giving birth to babies with gross abnormalities, a health professional has said.

A gynecologist and obstetrician Dr. Johannes Mukwembi told 98.4FM News that it was common for women to give birth to babies with multiple abnormalities because of maternal conditions and genetic factors.

“What basically happens is for a foetus to be formed there is information that is released from the seed of each parent, that is, the sperm and the egg. If the information in that seed, meaning chromosomes, is distorted, where they (chromosomes) are either too low or too high, there are deletions.”

He added: “If it is distorted, whatever is formed does not code for a normal baby so there would be abnormalities and these are usually interlinked, for example, a baby can have an abnormal head, spine, intestines, or even limbs. This means abnormalities range from mild to gross.”

Dr. Mukwembi said apart from the genetic factors, some maternal conditions were also responsible for babies that are formed or born with multiple abnormalities. He said these maternal risk factors included diabetes, hypertension and if there is history of abnormalities within the family.

“Basically, these abnormalities need to be picked up based on this history I have mentioned and that is why parents should register pregnancies early so that scans are done for any abnormalities are picked up on time. If they (abnormalities) are picked up early on and you feel they are gross you can request a termination of pregnancy but if you miss them, unfortunately, the baby has to be born in that form,” said Dr. Mukwembi.  

He added that most babies born with severe abnormalities did not live more than the first hour of life.

“It`s not witchcraft like what some people say, or that a woman has given birth to a creature or something, there is a scientific and medical explanation to babies that are born with gross abnormalities.”

Recently, a Zhombe woman gave birth to babies with gross abnormalities causing some local villagers to call the babies ‘creatures’ and alleging that she had been bewitched.

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