Whatever is done in secrecy finally pops out in the open and none is more open than when the lass you put in the family way and sooner or later is bent over by the baby bump. Then begins the routine visits to the gynecologist. Now you want the baby to be at least of good health when it finally makes a grand entry. You stuff yourself with multivitamins (the doctor says if you don’t take them you risk this and that) like they are a real fine meal.
So, all is well? You wonder. Actually, it is not. I will tell you those who found it not so well: Eric Marandu, 27, from Kiambu and Phoebe Achieng, 19, from Kijabe, who were born with a congenital condition that could have otherwise been avoided. In his entire life, Eric has gone through more than 18 surgeries to correct some part of his body. Phoebe has nine on the list – and still counting. The two have lived with spina bifida – a condition doctors say can be solved with adequate vitamins and nutrients in a pregnant woman’s body. So simple don’t you think? Both have had run-ins at ERs and have barely progressed in life. But until you know what it feels like seeing your children living on the edge, you may continue making the same mistakes.
According to Kenyatta National Hospital’s Dr Stephen Mutiso, an obstetrician and gynecologist, spina bifida has been linked to lack of folic acid and iron during pregnancy. These nutrients aid in the closing up of the spinal cord.
Recommendation by UK’s National Health Service (NHS) asks for would-be-mothers to start taking vitamin and nutrient supplements at least four months prior to getting down to the job of creating new life.
How about you just hear it from a nutritionist? Immaculate Nyaugo, a technical nutrition advisor with an international body, says that from teenage years, what a woman puts into her body builds into the reservoir of nutrients that will determine the success of pregnancy. “This is the time reproductive organs develop and prepare to bring up another life. To prepare, the women will need assessment to determine, for instance, the body mass index,” she says.
Aside from eating organic foods - served as balanced diet – Immaculate says that women may also need to take nutritional supplements regularly. “A mother who is undernourished will have an undernourished baby,” she states. Dr Mutiso argues: “Many baby-related problems can be prevented by proper planning ahead of the pregnancy. Doctors can help would-be-mothers to achieve this.”
Ladies (and gentlemen) it may be time to develop that plan before the bun gets into the oven.