Table of contents:
- What is a Chromosomal Abnormality?
- Early Detection or Screening of Chromosomal Abnormalities
- Common Types of Chromosomal Abnormalities in Babies
Cromosomal abnormalities in babies can occur in pregnancy without you knowing it. Regular pregnancy check-ups are needed so that this condition can be detected early. Thus, appropriate treatment steps can be taken to prevent the risk of disease due to chromosomal abnormalities
Chromosomal abnormalities in babies are rare conditions, but they often go unnoticed and are only detected through pregnancy tests. If not treated immediately, the disorder can cause miscarriage, congenital disease in the baby, and other conditions due to chromosomal abnormalities, such as gametogenesis problems and Down's syndrome.
What is a Chromosomal Abnormality?
Cromosomes are components that contain the genetic structure in body cells. Normally, the total number of chromosomes in the human body is 46 and 2 of them are sex chromosomes called X and Y chromosomes.
One of the conditions caused by chromosomal abnormalities is Down syndrome. This condition can cause sufferers to experience developmental disorders and physical forms that are different from normal children, such as a shorter neck and small ears.
People with Down syndrome are also more at risk of developing congenital heart defects. In addition to Down's syndrome, chromosomal abnormalities can also cause various other diseases, such as Patau's syndrome, phenylketonuria, cleft lip, and Edward's syndrome.
Early Detection or Screening of Chromosomal Abnormalities
Fetal chromosomal examination can generally be done at about 11–20 weeks of gestation. Before you undergo this examination, the doctor will usually do a gynecological examination first, namely with a physical examination and supporting tests, such as ultrasound and blood tests.
Ultrasound examination aims to detect physical abnormalities, such as spina bifida. Meanwhile, blood tests are done to detect certain abnormalities, such as sickle cell anemia. Both types of examination can also be done as an initial examination to find any chromosomal abnormalities.
If the results of the examination indicate a possible chromosomal abnormality in the baby, the doctor may suggest further tests to detect this possibility, such as:
Amniocentesis is an examination of the baby's chromosomal abnormalities by taking a sample of amniotic fluid. This examination can be done when the gestational age has reached about 15-20 weeks.Amniocentesis can be performed to detect various types of chromosomal abnormalities, such as Turner syndrome.
Although it is important to do, amniocentesis performed in the second trimester of pregnancy has a low risk of causing miscarriage, which is around 0.6%. The risk of miscarriage is higher if this procedure is performed before 15 weeks of gestation.
2. Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
CVS is done by taking a sample of chorionic villus cells that are identical to fetal cells using a special needle. This procedure is performed with the help of ultrasound.
Usually, this test is done in early pregnancy, which is the 10th to 13th week. This test can also be done to detect genetic abnormalities in the fetus.
CVS results are usually faster than other tests, giving you more time to make an informed decision about pregnancy.
However, the CVS procedure carries the risk of causing a miscarriage if it is performed in the first 23 weeks of pregnancy. The potential for miscarriage is estimated to occur in 1 in 100 pregnancies.
3. Fetal blood sampling (FBS)
The test to detect chromosomal abnormalities is done by taking a sample of fetal blood directly from the umbilical cord. FBS is also done to check oxygen levels in the blood and detect if the fetus has certain conditions, such as infection and anemia.
The FBS procedure has the highest risk of miscarriage than the previous test. Therefore, your doctor may suggest that you do an amniocentesis or CVS test before undergoing the FBS test.
In addition to the three examinations above, there is a non-invasive and safer screening test, namely the nuchal translucency examination. This examination cannot confirm the diagnosis as in the genetic examination above, but it can determine whether the fetus is at high risk for Down syndrome or not.
Common Types of Chromosomal Abnormalities in Babies
Cromosomal abnormalities can cause he alth problems or disability in babies. This condition tends to be more at risk for fetuses born to mothers who are old or have certain genetic disorders.
The following are some of the most common chromosomal disorders that can be detected by some of the tests above:
This condition is a chromosomal abnormality that causes the sufferer to have learning disabilities and has a different physical appearance from other individuals.
This condition occurs when the baby's spine and spinal cord do not develop properly in the womb, causing gaps in the baby's vertebrae.
Spina bifida can be caused by a lack of folic acid intake in pregnant women, a family history of similar diseases, and side effects of certain drugs taken during pregnancy.
Thalassemia is a hereditary blood disorder that causes red blood cells to not function normally. This condition can only be obtained if the child inherits the thalassemia gene from both parents.
This disease makes red blood cells unable to carry oxygen properly, so the sufferer will easily get tired, short of breath, and experience complications in the form of heart failure and growth disorders. Patients with thalassemia are also prone to anemia.
Until now, there is no treatment that can cure chromosomal abnormalities. However, this condition can be detected as early as possible so that doctors can prepare appropriate treatment steps for fetuses with these abnormalities.
Therefore, it is important to have regular pregnancy check-ups with the obstetrician on schedule. During the consultation, you can ask the doctor whether an examination is necessary to detect chromosomal abnormalities in the baby, especially if there is a history of genetic disorders in the family.