Untreated maternal phenylketonuria (MPKU) is a major cause of microcephaly, congenital heart disease, intrauterine growth retardation and mental retardation in the offspring of mothers who have the disease. There is evidence, however, that dietary restriction of phenylalanine in the mother before conception and throughout the pregnancy will reduce the risk of these congenital anomalies in the fetus. It is important to be alert to this preventable cause of developmental retardation and congenital abnormalities in all pregnancies until the stage is reached where every woman of child-bearing age has been through the neonatal PKU-screening program. Family physicians are advised to consider prenatal or premarital screening for PKU of all female patients of child-bearing age for the next generation
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