Stating that thanks to the increasing scientific-technological infrastructure and advanced expertise in the field of medicine, important developments have been achieved in the prevention, follow-up and intervention of risky babies, Pediatric Neurology Specialist Dr. Ece Gültekin said, “Now, with the methods defined as ‘preimplantation diagnosis’, possible neurological problems can be determined and prevented before the baby is born.”
Children with a high risk of adversely affecting their development due to problems they encounter in the womb, at the time of birth or in the newborn period are considered as ‘risky babies’. Noting that the damage that develops while the neurological system is still forming, especially in the early stages of life, is more likely to cause more serious neurological problems in the future, Pediatric Neurology Specialist from Istinye University Hospital Medical Park Gaziosmanpaşa. Ece Gültekin said that the cause of the damage may be due to hereditary, biological and environmental factors.
RISKS ARE DETERMINED BEFORE THE BABY HAS BEEN
Underlining that some of the causes of neurological diseases in infants can be partially or completely prevented, Uzm. Dr. Gültekin said, “Thanks to the increasing scientific and technological infrastructure and advanced expertise in the field of medicine, very important developments have been achieved in the prevention, follow-up and intervention of risky babies. Studies to identify babies at risk now begin before they are formed. With these methods, which are defined as ‘preimplantation diagnosis’, possible neurological problems are tried to be determined before the baby is born. For this purpose, genetic tests are used increasingly, by adding new methods.”
Stating that the risks that may occur during pregnancy are evaluated with the risk factors of both the baby and the mother as a carrier, Uzm. Dr. Gültekin emphasized that ultrasonography is now routinely used for this purpose, genetic, metabolic and advanced imaging tests can be performed when necessary, and even interventions can be performed on the baby in the womb.
THE LOWER THE BIRTH WEIGHT, THE RISK OF BRAIN DAMAGE INCREASE
Noting that pregnancy follow-ups are very important for both mother and baby, Pediatric Neurology Specialist Dr. Ece Gültekin explained the situations that need attention as follows:
“The risks that the baby may face increase with the exit from the mother’s womb. Problems associated with the birth process, multiple pregnancy and preterm birth are the most common of these risks. Factors such as respiratory distress in the neonatal period and the need for artificial respiration support are conditions with a high risk of damage to the developing neurological system of the baby. Again in this period, the risk of brain hemorrhage, seizures, low blood sugar, nutritional deficiencies, jaundice or various infections and neurological damage increases significantly. The severity of the developing problems and neurological damage may not always be compatible. However, as the week of birth and birth weight decrease, the possibility of neurological problems increases. Cerebral palsy (cerebral palsy), seizures, vision, hearing or musculoskeletal problems can be seen in these babies in the future. Sometimes, it may present with cognitive problems, learning difficulties, behavioral disorders or lack of attention.”
MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH IS REQUIRED
Stating that in order to determine the neurological effect, first of all, normal developmental stages, social development, language, fine and gross motor skills of the child should be evaluated in detail. Dr. Ece Gültekin said, “Development screening tests are used both in the recognition and follow-up of these children. Risky infant follow-up requires a multidisciplinary approach. It is important to closely evaluate and monitor the child’s development in the presence of pediatric neurology and other branch physicians, as well as child development specialists, speech and language therapists, dietitians and physiotherapists, and make necessary interventions when necessary. The aim of risky baby follow-up is to minimize the problems that these babies may encounter with early diagnosis and to bring them to the highest functional level they can reach.