Since Down syndrome is a genetic disorder, there is truly no definite preventive measure that can fully stop it from happening. However, the randomness of the occurrence can lead to the development of preventive measures that can alleviate the occurrence. Knowing the risks can also aid parents get ready for the possibility. Here are some more details.
About the Risks
The most common known risk of Down syndrome may be increasing occurrence with increasing maternal age. Although the happening is random in nature, the possibility actually increases as mothers grow older. Mothers below 25 years old has a 1 in every 1,400 births chance of producing a Down syndrome baby. At 30 years old, the figures continue to increase until the age of 45 years and above, when the chances are almost 1 in every 12 births.
The condition of the mother can also matter. Inadequate supply of folic acid, which is a B vitamin may be linked to the occurrence of Down syndrome. Mothers who have inherently low folate levels have a higher risk of having a baby with Down syndrome compared to others. The chances increase by 320%. To prevent the problem, mothers are advised to take folic acid supplements and practice screening techniques and diagnostic tests if they get pregnant at age 35 or later.
The most common way to prevent Down syndrome for parents may be to avoid pregnancy altogether once they reach the age of 35. However, for some parents, doctors recommend a family planning approach that can help indicate the possibility of occurrence. The Down syndrome birth prevalence in any given country may be estimated via the proportion of maternities during every age. Maternal and paternal ages should be considered very well to determine if there are chances of producing babies with Down syndrome.
Parents should make it a point to undergo screening and diagnostic tests to stay ahead before other complications can arise. They can start methods at 11 to 12 weeks of pregnancy and continue up to the third trimester. Some of the known methods include ultrasound, expanded AFP screening, chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis and nuchal translucency screening.
Women having a history of inherited translocation or having a previous pregnancy with a form of Down syndrome that is non-inherited should gain access to PGD. The technique is limited depending on the presence of normal embryos in families. Only around 1% of Down syndrome pregnancies involve women with a family history of the disorder. Biochemical, epidemiological and molecular evidence shows a link between the condition and defect in methyl and folate metabolism.
Just the same as preventing any other disease, individuals should practice living healthier lives by exercising regularly, eating healthily and getting more of the nutritious vitamins and minerals. They should get enough rest per night and relieve stress by taking antioxidants and improving their social lives.
Family planning should be done even before marriage, especially for couples who are carriers of translocation, whether it is the male or female parent. Parents may try to complete their family before the age of 30. The birth prevalence can be cut by as much as 50% with the strategy. Further research and constant studies can help provide more information so keep updated through the internet, books and experts.