Monitoringclub.org | Causes of Down’s Syndrome and Its Risk Factors – Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes an excess chromosomes. Keep in mind, chromosomes are genetic information that determines how the body is formed and functions from the time the fetus grows in the womb until it is born.
This difference in the number of chromosomes changes the baby’s growth and development, both physically and mentally.
To increase alertness in this condition, identify causes of down’s syndrome and risk factors.
Causes of down’s syndrome
According to The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the causes of Down’s syndrome comes from an excess of chromosome 21 or trisomy.
Down syndrome babies are born with 47 chromosomes in each cell. Under normal conditions, people have 46 chromosomes in each cell.
Normally, cell division produces two copies of chromosome 21. However, this genetic disorder causes cell division to produce three copies of chromosome 21.
Experts can only temporarily conclude the cause of Down syndrome is related to an extra chromosome.
Down’s syndrome risk factors
In addition, experts have also mentioned several factors that can increase the risk of pregnant women giving birth to babies with Down syndrome.
However, until now experts do not know for sure why so many Down syndrome risk factors, but the impact can be different on the baby.
Risk factors that can increase the chances of pregnant women giving birth to babies with Down syndrome include:
Age of pregnant women over 35 years old
Pregnant women who give birth to babies over the age of 35 are more at risk of giving birth to babies with Down syndrome. However, there are also pregnant women under 35 years who give birth to babies with Down syndrome.
According to National Downs Syndrome Society, the older the age of pregnant women, the possibility of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome is also higher.
About four percent of cases of Down syndrome occur due to genetic factors or inherited from parents.
If the father is a carrier, the risk of Down syndrome in the child is three percent. Meanwhile, if the mother is a carrier, the risk of Down syndrome in children ranges from 10-15 percent.
Have ever given birth to a Down syndrome baby
Mothers who have given birth to a baby with Down syndrome have a 1:100 chance of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome.
The distance between giving birth is too far
The further the age gap between babies born with previous children, the risk of babies being born with Down syndrome also increases.
This risk is higher if the distance between giving birth to children is too far and the mother is pregnant with her first child over the age of 35 years.
Deficiency of folate or folic acid
Deficiency of folate or folic acid can cause chromosomal disorders.
For this reason, every woman who is planning to become pregnant should have a sufficient folate intake every day.
If necessary, consult a doctor to prescribe folic acid supplements before pregnancy.
Exposure to cigarettes and chemicals throughout pregnancy
Environmental factors that can increase the baby’s risk of developing Down syndrome are exposed to harmful chemicals, including cigarettes.
Especially for cigarettes, exposure to harmful chemicals in cigarettes in pregnant women can cause chromosomal abnormalities, babies born with Down syndrome, heart and brain abnormalities.
Down’s syndrome prevention
Down syndrome generally cannot be prevented. However, pregnant women can manage some of the risk factors that cause Down syndrome which can be managed above.
One of them is fulfilling folate intake since the pregnancy program, avoiding exposure to cigarette smoke and harmful chemicals, or pregnancy programs to regulate pregnancy spacing.
Apart from that, if pregnant women are included in the group at risk of giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome, for example, because they are pregnant over the age of 40, it is better for the couple to do a health check.
Some of the screening tests that can be done include a blood test to screen pregnant women’s blood serum, ultrasound examination or fetal sonogram, examination of the placenta with chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test, or amniocentesis test of amniotic fluid.
In addition, doctors usually also check the characteristics of Down syndrome in newborns. If there are symptoms that point to this genetic disorder, the doctor will perform a cytogenetic examination or a genetic fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) test when the baby is born.