Posted by Claudia Grazioso on March 7, 2011
It’s the Murphy’s Law of Parenthood: Although the questions are the same year after year, the answers change by the second. And it starts at conception. Eat fish, you and your baby need protein. Wait! Oh, my God! Mercury! Have a cup of tea to avoid symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Are you drinking tea? You must be nuts!
During my first pregnancy, it seemed like a cruel game: “Mess With The Pregnant Woman.” Once, I was eating pasta when a friend grabbed my wrist. “You don’t know about garlic and pregnancy?” Eyeballing her, I envisioned a series of Matrix-like ninja chops in which the Bloated Pregnant Lady takes out the Sleek Health Nut. My child wasn’t even born yet and I was already tired of hearing that (and feeling like) I was doing everything wrong.
Moms are desperate for the “right” information. And often the right information ekes into the mainstream a little too late. That must be Murphy’s Law of Parenthood Number Two…
For example, the connection between Celexa and birth defects has come under scrutiny recently. Celexa — like Lexapro, Zoloft and Prozac —treats depression. Drug companies insist there’s no risk during pregnancy, and doctors continue to walk the legal line, saying it could have some effects. Left to make the call, moms often feel helpless. Well, don’t. Inform yourself. Knowledge is power, as they say.
Cardiac problems like septal defects and, more seriously, Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), have been associated with Celexa. If your infant experiences rapid breathing or heartbeat, respiratory distress, or a blue tinge to their skin, ask to see a neonatologist. After you have a treatment plan for PPHN, add this to your to do list: As your child grows, watch out for hearing problems. PPHN can sometimes cause hearing loss, which can in turn delay speech. Early intervention can make a huge difference to children with speech, language and hearing issues.
Other birth defects to watch for if you took Celexa are omphalocele, an abdominal wall defect, and skull defects like craniosyntosis. In omphalocele, the abdominal organs form outside of the belly button. Thankfully, the survival rate is high — about 90 percent — and this condition is often fixed with surgery. If your child has had omphalocele, watch for signs of other defects as he or she grows. Up to 40 percent of babies with omphalocele have additional birth defects, so keep a close eye.
Craniosyntosis is when your baby’s skull sutures close too soon but their brain continues to grow. This results in a misshapen head. Surgery is usually performed while the infant is still young and in general, the post-surgery prognosis is good.
These conditions may knock the wind out of you. But remember, knowledge is power. And just do what all parents do: Love with all of your heart, and be ready for anything.