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Will my child acquire thalassaemia from me?

Q: I am a 27 years old pregnant woman into my seventh month of pregnancy. I am suffering from thalassaemia. My husband is normal. What should my diet during pregnancy include? Will thalassaemia be passed on to my child as well?

A:First of all Thalassaemia is a heritable disease and not infective or food borne. Therefore, the question of having some food that would cure thalassaemia does not arise. As far as you are concerned, while you have thalassaemia carrier state, your husband is apparently normal from the query posted. I hope the necessary investigations to this effect have been done. The maximum the baby (50% chance) can have would be a thalassaemia carrier state, which would mean similar features as you. Thus, he at least is going to be phenotypically normal. There is also a 50% chance that he will be absolutely normal both phenotypically as well as genotypically. One thing however, that you must do is to have folic acid tablets as the marrow is in stress because of some degree of haemolysis that occurs in the bone marrow in thalassaemia carriers, and this can get compounded during pregnancy.

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