Edwards syndrome may be detected prior to the birth of a baby especially through amniocentesis and ultrasonography. Women who are pregnant with Edwards’ syndrome babies are bound to have an unusually large uterus. It’s nothing the woman has done, the syndrome is a random occurrence during the formation of egg and sperm and increases with maternal age.
Not only is there no cure for Edwards’ syndrome, the symptoms are very complex and hard to manage as they are often life threatening. In the many cases, your baby will have heart and lung problems, various infections, limb malfunctions and will be unable to have sustained movements as they get older.
They may also experience constipation as a result of weak abdominal muscles, discomfort and feeding problems. Some may even be fed with a tube. Babies with Edwards’ syndrome always require specialist medical care and may have various extreme surgical procedures to treat or manage some of the abnormalities.
Heart defect is the most common and critical defect in Edwards syndrome babies. In fact, more than 92% of babies born with the syndrome will have a congenital heart malformation; a very life threatening heart defect.
Babies with the Edwards syndrome experience many developmental delays, hence they require special education and support so that they can pick up.
Most babies born with the syndrome do not live past their first year of life. Their average life span is three months and the ones that survive their first year, experience critical developmental, mental and physical disabilities as they launch into adulthood.
It is important to have routine prenatal checks as early ultrasounds may pick the presence of abnormalities and chromosomal problems. These checks may also include first and second trimester maternal serum screening, to equip you for early management. Babies born with the syndrome will need medical attention from a wide variety of specialists.
These babies require support in every ramification and can neither communicate effectively nor learn. The most they can do on their own is roll over.
Throat elongation which results in swallowing difficulties is one of the critical conditions in Edwards’ syndrome babies because of the hyper-extension of their heads. This makes feeding increasingly difficult as they are also prone to uncoordinated swallowing and choking. Medical support such as nasogastric or gastrostomy tube placement for feeding difficulties helps, as well as cardiac management for heart defects.