Babies conceived by women above 35 risk down syndrome, says therapist

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Maryam Ibrahim-Maifada, a Nigerian speech therapist, says babies conceived by women above 35 years are at the risk of having down syndrome — a genetic disorder.

According to NAN, Ibrahim-Maifada said the disorder occurs when babies are born with an extra chromosome.

“The older the mother, the higher the risk of having a baby with down syndrome. Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. Most babies are born with 23 pairs of chromosomes within each cell for a total of 46. Majority of babies with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome,” she said.

The speech therapist also disclosed that babies born with the down syndrome usually face physical and mental challenges throughout life.

“They typically have distinctive body and facial features that set them apart. They are more likely to develop slowly, and are more at risk of some medical conditions,” she added.

Ibrahim-Maifada listed some of the mental signs of the disorder to include delays in speech and language development, attention problems, sleep difficulties, stubbornness and tantrums, delays in recognition, and delayed toilet training.

She also listed physical signs of down syndrome to include short, stocky physical size; a short neck, poor muscle tone, flattened facial features, especially the bridge of the nose, and small ears.

Others, she added, include almond-shaped eyes that slant upward, small hands and feet, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.

Ibrahim-Maifada said other medical conditions associated with down syndrome are heart problems, thyroid abnormalities, auditory and vision problems, and low fertility rate in males.

“About 50 per cent of women with Down syndrome are able to bear children. The possibility of risk of their children having the condition is between 35 per cent and 50 per cent,” she added.

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