Having a baby is an exciting time in every mother’s life. It also comes with a lot of scary thoughts regarding the developments and the health of the baby. Especially if there are known medical conditions in the family which can be passed on to the baby through genes.
Every newborn gets a mix of genes from both parents that contain the information the body uses to control how to grow, develop and function. Many health conditions are also carried in our genes.
Unaware, mothers may pass on genetic conditions to their baby. These conditions occur when one of the passed on genes does not work correctly in the newborn’s body. Also, if a gene already suffered changes, that gene will not work properly and it can be passed down by the parents to their children. These changes in genes often occur at conception and can’t be prevented.
Many scary conditions can be passed on to the baby. If you know you have a medical condition, or if there is one in your family history, you can talk to doctors, or genetic counselors about passing it on. Here are 15 medical conditions babies can get from their mothers.
15 Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Usually, our bowels move with the help of muscle contractions. But if you have IBS, your intestines are extra sensitive. Any kind of stress or just eating may induce muscle spasms inside the colon, or the large intestine.
This may cause painful abdominal cramps, constipation, or diarrhea.
The number of people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome get bigger from day to day. Recent researches determined that IBS is a genetic condition. So, if the mother suffers from this syndrome there is a high risk that the baby will also suffer from it.
There is no cure for IBS, but the doctors recommend a diet high in fiber and low in fat, as it tends to aggravate the condition. Some of the first symptoms for kids with severe IBS is losing weight. Making sure your child gets the nutrients he needs you can help him stay healthy.
14 Inability To Process Sugar
Diabetes is a disease in which there is a very high level of sugar in a person’s blood. It is a lifelong illness, and it has no cure. It can be caused because your body doesn’t produce enough insulin. This disease has its ups and downs while trying to keep it on track.
If you’re a mom to be and have diabetes, you may want to know that your baby may be born with this disease. It can lead to serious problems for the mother as well for the child, such as preeclampsia, congenital disabilities, early birth, or miscarriage.
The chances to have a healthy baby can be increased by keeping the blood sugar on track before and during pregnancy, especially if the mother has type 1 diabetes. If the blood sugar level is not controlled the infant is more likely to have low blood sugar in the first few days after delivery.
13 Parasite Associated With Toxoplasmosis
Another genetic disease is toxoplasmosis. It is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. This parasite can live inside the cells of humans and animals, especially cats and farm animals.
Any pregnant woman may already know the importance to avoid toxoplasmosis.
This disease can be developed by cleaning the litter box of an infected cat or by eating under-cooked, or contaminated meat.
If you have a strong immune system and have toxoplasmosis, then you may not even have symptoms. That’s why it’s best to get tested before or during pregnancy so you can get a good treatment. By treating toxoplasmosis, you can make your baby’s disease less severe.
Some babies born with toxoplasmosis may develop brain and nervous system problems, which can cause seizures, feeding problems, hearing loss, or other medical problems.
12 Harmless Until It's An Allergy
Actually, allergies were not a genetic condition until recently, but researchers have found that there is a 50 percent risk of being passed on from mother to baby. If the father is also allergic, the risk goes up by 75 percent. Actually, the kid inherits just the likelihood of having allergies, and not the allergy itself.
Allergies are abnormal immune system reactions to things that are harmless to most people, but dangerous to the infected one. This means that the immune system mistakes the substance the person is allergic to as being harmful to the body.
There is no cure for allergies, but symptoms can be managed. The best way to cope with them is by avoiding the allergens.
Some of the most common things people are allergic to are dust mites, pollen, molds, pet allergens, or even cockroaches. Many kids are also affected by food allergies, such as cow’s milk, eggs, fish, or peanuts.
11 Torch Syndrome
Torch syndrome is actually a group of infectious diseases that cause serious problems for an unborn baby, such as Toxoplasmosis, other agents, Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes Simplex. If you get one of the Torch infections while pregnant, then your baby can get it too as it spreads through your blood to him. This can prevent his organs from developing correctly.
If a developing fetus is infected by a Torch agent, it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, early delivery or delayed fetal growth.
Newborns infected by any Torch agent may develop lethargy, fever, feeding difficulties, an enlarged liver or spleen, and decreased levels of oxygen in the blood, which leads to anemia. Some other symptoms are the presence of reddish spots, yellowish discoloration of the skin, whites of the eyes, and jaundice.
Different treatments for newborns affected by Torch syndrome consist in administering different medication depending on the stage of the development and the severity of the infection.
10 Auto-Immune Diseases Like HIV
Human Immunodeficiency Virus is one of the worst disease in human history. It causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) which means that the body’s defense mechanism against infection is damaged and does not work properly.
HIV can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood of an infected person, or by sharing needles, but it can also be passed from a mother who is infected, to her child.
If a baby is born with HIV he will appear healthy at first. By the age of 2 to 3 months, he will begin to show some signs, such as not gaining enough weight, enlarged lymph nodes, an enlarged spleen, mouth infections, brain and nervous system problems, and infections.
Even though there are no vaccines or cures for HIV and AIDS, they can be treated.
9 Three To Five Percent Chance Of Passing On Hepatitis
Studies have shown that hepatitis B and C have the most risk to be transmitted from parents to the baby. Around 1 percent of all pregnant women worldwide have hepatitis C, and many of them don’t even know it.
Why? Because sometimes the infection causes no symptoms.
There is a 3 to 5 percent risk that this virus is passed to the newborns. If you want to find out if your baby has this virus, you have to wait until your baby is eighteen months old so he can be tested.
If the mother has hepatitis B, the baby can be infected during birth or if she lives with an infected person. The great news is that the mother can breastfeed her child with no worries that he will be infected as well.
8 Transmittable Infections Like Syfy
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection. If caught in time it can be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, syphilis can have serious consequences on a long-term basis.
It is critical for soon to be mothers to be tested for syphilis and treated during pregnancy. Also if a newborn may have syphilis at birth it’s good to be evaluated and also treated.
A mother can transmit syphilis to her baby through the placenta during pregnancy, or by contact with a sore during delivery. If the syphilis is detected and treated at an early stage, the mother and baby will be fine. If not, there is a very high chance that the newborn will be also infected, which may cause losing the baby in miscarriage, a stillbirth, or having a baby with severe neurological problems.
7 Other Transferable Infections Like The Clap
Gonorrhea is a highly contagious sexual transmitted infection, and it can be passed to the baby during delivery. Even though they may not appear right away, some of the symptoms are painful urination, increase in vaginal discharge, or painful bowel movements.
If the mother gets gonorrhea during pregnancy, there can be developed some highrisk pregnancy-related conditions, like miscarriage, or preterm birth. It can be treated with pregnancy-safe antibiotics.
If left untreated, it can spread to the mother’s uterus and fallopian tubes.
Most babies born with gonorrhea develop eye problems. That’s why it is highly recommended that the newborn be treated with eye drops or ointments, and systemic antibiotics very quickly. If left untreated, gonorrhea on a newborn can cause blindness or it can be spread to other parts of his body. It can also cause blood infections.
6 Gaucher Disease
As every pregnancy has its risks of having a baby with a birth defect, the exposure to Gaucher disease may increase these risks.
Gaucher disease is a genetic disorder and people with this disease have low levels of the enzyme called glucocerebrosidase, which helps break down fat inside the body. This means that fatty material may build up in the liver, lungs, or bone marrow.
A newborn can have Gaucher disease only if both the mother and father have this disease. So, if only the mother has it, the gene can be passed on to the baby, but the baby will be a carrier for Gaucher disease. That means that he can be healthy.
It would be great to speak with a genetic counselor and do some prenatal testings so you can have more information.
5 Batten Disease
Batten disease is a rare genetic disease that is passed down by both mother and father to the baby. This disease slowly turns the central nervous system into fat, and may lead to blindness, without speech, paralyzed and it is fatal. There are treatments that can prolong the life of one affected by this disease.
Symptoms can start to show up between the ages of 2 months and 2 years, and it can cause microcephaly or sharp contractions in the muscles. Most children diagnosed with Batten disease die before they turn 5 years old.
Because it as such a rare problem, Batten disease it is often misdiagnosed.
As there is no known treatment, symptoms like seizures can be improved with the help of medication. Also, other symptoms can be treated too, and people with Batten disease may get physical therapy to help them function.
4 Cold Sores And More
Most common type of herpes that is passed on to the baby is genital herpes, an STI. Herpes passed on to a newborn can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, problems.
There are chances where the herpes is not transmitted to the baby, but the doctors should be very careful because an infected child may suffer from severe medical issues. They can suffer from central nervous system disease, which may lead to seizures. Some babies may even die. It affects the liver, lungs, and also other organs, leaving affected children with long-term problems.
If you have genital herpes, you must inform your doctor. He may perform a C-section instead of a vaginal delivery, and the baby can be born healthy. After delivery, it can be cured with antibiotics.
3 Huntington’s Disease
Huntington’s disease affects the central nervous system and the neurons of the brain. This means that the affected person may have uncontrolled movements, emotional problems, and loss of thinking ability.
This is a genetic disorder that can be passed on from mother to baby, but the symptoms appear when the person is 30 to 40 years old.
Before this age, there may be no symptoms at all. Some of the early signs can include irritability, depression, and small involuntary movements. Affected persons may have trouble walking, speaking, and swallowing.
If you know you have a family history of Huntington’s disease, you can do a prenatal testing which will show whether the child will inherit the defective gene or not. To test the fetus, a sample of DNA is extracted from fetal cells via amniocentesis or Chorionic Villi Sampling. If the fetus tests positive, parents can make the decision whether or not to continue with the pregnancy.
2 Turner Syndrome
Turner syndrome is a condition of the chromosomes, and it affects the development in females. One of the most obvious symptom of Turner syndrome is short stature, which starts to show at around 5 years old. Another common symptom is an early loss of ovarian function. Many affected girls need hormone therapy to undergo puberty and are unable to conceive. Other rare symptoms are swelling of the hands and feet, kidney problems, skeletal abnormalities, and heart problems. There may appear complications associated to these heart problems that can lead to death.
This serious disease occurs when one of the two X chromosomes normally found in women is missing or is incomplete. It is actually an error during the formation of either the eggs or the sperm.
Sometimes, diagnosing Turner syndrome can be made at birth because of heart problems, an unusually wide neck or swelling of hands and feet, which can appear to babies.
1 Mental Illness
Every mother who suffers from a mental illness and is considering having a baby is probably asking herself whether she can pass her mental disorder to her child. There are mental disorders that run in a family, but the severity of symptoms may differ among family members.
Most mental disorders are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
A mental disorder cannot be caused only by a single genetic switch. Together with the genetic factors, the environment plays an important role in triggering a mental illness.
Some of the environmental factors are trauma, emotional harm, or substance abuse. Genetic factors contributing to the development of a mental illness can include genetic polymorphisms, epigenetic regulation, or the single gene change.
One of the most known mental illness that can be passed on from mother to baby is depression. Recent research has found a gene that is linked to depression.
References: genesinlife.org, healthywa.wa.gov.au, kidshealth.org, babycenter.com, healthychildren.org