Untreated STDs can lead to defects in babies, neurosurgeon advises women

The expert advised on proper treatment of STDs

A neurosurgeon, Joseph Obande, on Wednesday advised women of child bearing age to ensure proper treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) to avoid having babies with neural tube defects.

Mr. Obande, who works with the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that certain congenital infections might lead to spinal bifida or encephalocele.

He also said that unhealthy lifestyles like having unprotected sex, drug abuse and smoking could lead to neural tube defect or congenital defects in babies.

Mr. Obande said environmental factors like exposure to excessive heat, irradiation and poorly treated sexually transmitted disease among others could also lead to the defects.

The neurosurgeon said that the factors that affected the central nervous system could affect the cranium or spinal cord.

According to Wikipedia, Spinal bifida is a birth defect in which the bones of the spine do not form properly around the spinal cord.

Encephalocele is a rare type of neural tube defect present at birth that affects the brain.

Mr. Obande added that women who were exposed to undue heat at the first trimester were at higher risk of giving birth to babies with congenital defects.

“The certain congenital infections that may occur, leading to neural tube defects are called the TORCHES syndrome.

“Mothers that acquire this infection are at higher risk of having babies with congenital abnormalities.

“TORCHES syndrome refers to infection of a developing foetus or newborn by any of a group of infectious agents.

“This is why we say women should live healthy lives so that they do not have these kinds of illnesses and then transmit it to their unborn children,” he said.

Mr. Obande also said that a woman who gave birth to a baby with spinal bifida had higher chances of giving birth to babies with such condition in subsequence pregnancies.



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