Dr Peace Amaraegbulam, a consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Umuahia, has warned against untreated infections during pregnancy, saying it could cause cerebral palsy in children.
She gave the warning in an interview with the newsmen in Umuahia, on Friday.
Amaraegbulam said some infections from the woman could pass through the placenta to the child but
however added that such was not common in this part of the world.
He described cerebral palsy as the commonest motor disability in childhood which occurred as a result of an injury to an immature brain.
She noted that other factors including bleeding during pregnancy, prolonged or preterm labour could also cause cerebral palsy.
According to her, even after the child has been born, the child may have jaundice, fall and have trauma or have other infections that affect the blood stream, which are capable of causing the disability.
The consultant, however, advised mothers to ensure adequate treatment of any infections before and during pregnancy, to avoid cerebral palsy and other childhood disabilities.
She cautioned against use of unprescribed drugs during pregnancy, adding that it could put the child at a risk.
“Generally, the first eight weeks of pregnancy is the period that the child is most vulnerable to things happening.
“A lot of times, by that period the woman does not even know that she is pregnant.
“So during the woman’s reproductive cycle, especially during the second half of her mensural period, it is safer that she does not take drugs, unless the ones prescribed by a medical doctor.”
Amaraegbulam, who is the Founding Chairman of Straight Child Foundation, a non-profit organisation, frowned at discrimination against children with cerebral palsy.
“Most people erroneously believe that children with cerebral palsy are from evil spirit or product of witchcraft.
Sometimes you can’t attribute it to either the mother or any other person around the child. It is a problem that can be defined by medical science.
“So it is also good that the parents do not discriminate against the child. A lot of children who have cerebral palsy suffer more from the stigma than the condition itself,” she said.
She said that cerebral palsy had no cure like malaria, adding that life could be made better for the person by offering intervention if detected early.