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What is a Congenital Condition?

May 21st, 2023 | by Maddy Beard

Maddy Beard

May 21st, 2023

What is a Congenital Condition?

A congenital condition can be defined as structural or functional anomalies that occur whilst the child is intrauterine. These conditions develop prenatally and can be detected before or at birth or later in life. The impact of these conditions can range from mild to severe. The majority of birth defects are structural (i.e. how the body is built). Some congenital disorders can be treated with medical or surgical interventions. Children with congenital disorders may require long-term support, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and support from families and the community.

What Causes Congenital Conditions?

  • Genetic – Caused by genetic abnormalities (i.e. chromosomal abnormalities, Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis).
  • Socio-demographic factors – Maternal age and some ethnic groups have been associated with an increased risk of birth defects. Consanguinity (where parents descend from the same kinship and have similar genetic makeup) and couples with a similar genetic makeup are more likely to have a common gene variation that may result in a birth defect.
  • Environmental factors – Including maternal infections, exposure to radiation, certain pollutants, and maternal nutritional deficiencies.
  • Drugs and alcohol – Drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs and certain prescription and over-the-counter medications are known to cause congenital anomalies.
  • Vaccine-preventable infections – During pregnancy, infections such as rubella and chickenpox can cause brain, heart, limb, and eye anomalies. These infectious diseases can be prevented by immunization.
  • Inadequate maternal nutrition – Adequate folic acid before and during pregnancy may prevent some spinal cord defects.

What Are Some Treatment Options for Congenital Disorders?

As the symptoms and problems caused by congenital anomalies vary, the treatment also varies as well. Treatments may include medications, therapies, surgeries, and assistive devices. NAPA pediatrics therapists will perform a comprehensive assessment of your child to identify the primary impairments preventing them from achieving their gross motor, fine motor, or communication goals.

About the Author

Maddy is an enthusiastic and dedicated physiotherapist. Maddy first established her passion for pediatric physiotherapy during a student placement in her final year of university. After establishing her broad skill set at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney in areas from intensive care to musculoskeletal physiotherapy, Maddy is thrilled to be part of the team at NAPA and dedicate herself to this exciting area of practice. She believes in empowering children and their families to allow each child to reach their highest potential and achieve their goals. In her spare time, you will find Maddy catching up with friends, visiting her sister in Canberra, playing golf, or attempting and most likely failing a new recipe.

About NAPA Centre 

NAPA Centre provides paediatric therapy services to children diagnosed with SETD5. Learn more about treatment options in this blog post.NAPA specialises in working with children with physical and neurological delays. In addition to working with children with more common diagnoses such as cerebral palsy and Down syndrome, NAPA has a special interest and expertise with children with rare, multiple and complex conditions. NAPA Centre’s Intensive Model of Therapy (IMOT) is world-renowned, and one of the leading clinics in Australia for paediatric therapy programs with a large multi-discliplinary team of Occupational Therapists, Physiotherapists and Speech Therapists all working together. Families routinely travel from all parts of Sydney, the NSW region, from across Australia and even from the Australasian region to access NAPA’s unique and effective programs for their children.

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