A Paediatrician, Dr Adekunle Ola, says most birth defects are caused by poor antenatal care of expectant mothers but are revealed with proper antenatal care for adequate management.

Ola, who works with Federal Medical Centre, Ebute Meta, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday against the backdrop of children born with hole in the heart.

He said that with proper antenatal care, some congenital heart diseases such as Ventricular Vestal defect and Arterial Septal
defect would be detected for proper precautions to be taken.

“Other heart diseases that may occur include Tetralogy of Fallots, and Einsenmanger syndrome which can be corrected by surgery.

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“This birth defects are often common in highly industrialised areas where people are exposed to undue radiation and reactive industrial

“This diseases can be most common where there is a fall in radiation or chemical spray like what happened in Hiroshima and Nakarta in Japan where there was a chemical bombing during the second World War,’’ Ola said.

He said: “Congenital heart defects are problems in the heart’s structure that are present at birth. Approximately, 1 in every 100
newborns has congenital heart defect which can range from mild to severe.

“Congenital heart defects happen because of incomplete or abnormal development of the foetus’ heart during the very early weeks of

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“These birth defects usually occur during Embryomic division in the first three month of pregnancy during which the womb cells are

“Some earlier causes of heart disease are known and associated with genetic disorders, but the cause of most congenital heart defects
is unknown.

“While heart defects can’t be prevented, it can be detected during good antenatal care though there may be no cure for it, the mother can well prepare ahead for it.

“To forestall these unknown problems, expectant mothers should ensure they register immediately they are certified pregnant, I don’t think this is expensive to do only that some are careless,’’ he said.

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Ola, who also explained that some drugs could be responsible for congenital heart diseases, said that doctors hardly recommend those
drugs except they are left with no choice.

“This happens in rare occasions, only if there is a matter of life and death in choosing between the mother and the child.

“There is no reliable statistics for now on the prevalence of heart diseases but one thing is sure, Nigeria does not belong to the
country with the high risk factors.

“The prevalence of the disease from available records also shows that it is not on the increase, heart diseases are not a common
occurrence in birth delivery,’’ he said. (NAN)