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So today, 3rd March, happens to be world birth defects day. Everyday we come across people with different births defects, have you ever wondered how they feel having to live with such structural or functional abnormalities for the rest of their lives? Overtime, I have come to realize that in addition to every other factors, certain drugs has been implicated in certain birth defects. Also, some drugs ranging from prescribed drugs, non prescribed drugs, herbal drugs, social drugs, illicit drugs, were noted to be taken at sometime during pregnancy to treat different aliment and symptoms.                                                    So today, we will be discussing different birth defects and drugs that can cause them.

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Here are some birth defects and some drugs that can cause them.

➡  Cleft Palate& Cleft lip                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 This can result from the use of corticosteroids and Phenytoin during pregnancy. Here, the baby’s lip has an opening or split in the roof of the mouth. This defect can impair the baby’s speech ability.

Craniofacial Dysmorphisms                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               This defect can affect one’s with intellectual abilities and can lead to abnormal development of the bones of the skull and face.                                                                                                                                                                         It can result with the use drug like Isotretinoin ( VIt A greater than 10,000iu) during pregnancy.

➡Gray babies syndrome, Jaundice, teeth discoloration, neural tube defects & Liver failure can be seen with certain Antibiotics medication like Chloramphenicol, Tetracyclines, Sulfonamide & Flagyl respectively.

Fetal Warfarin Syndrome:

Can be seen with the use of Warfarin an anticoagulant. This can hinder and stop a baby from growing and also lead to defects in the eye and nose.

➡Multiple birth defects                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   This can result from the use of anti neoplastic or anti cancer drugs. This drug at lower dose causes growth retardation and at higher dose can result in fetal death as well as other fetal malformations.

➡Fetal growth restriction, cardiovascular defects, neurological dysfunction and withdrawal Syndrome can result from the the use of Cigarette which contains Nicotine, Alcohol, and codeine respectively.

➡Spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and still birth may result from the use certain herbs like Green Tea at high dose.

Drug use in Pregnancy requires special consideration as this affects not just the mother but the fetus.
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