Some birth defects are based on genetic factors and can't be prevented. Some are based on accidents you have no...
Some birth defects are based on genetic factors and can't be prevented. Some are based on accidents you have no control over. However, all women can take steps to increase the odds of having a healthy baby born without a birth defect. The most important thing to know is that many birth defects occur early in a pregnancy. In fact they can occur even before you know you're pregnant. That's why leading a healthy lifestyle is important if you're in your childbearing years. According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), steps that all women should take include:
  • Take 400 micrograms (mcg) folic acid every day.
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs.
  • Keep hands clean by washing them often with soap and water to prevent infections.
  • See a health care professional regularly. Talk with the health care professional about any medical problems and medicine use (both prescription and over-the-counter).
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it.
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat.
If you are pregnant you should continue to follow the above healthy habits and also...
  • Get early prenatal care and go to every single appointment.
  • Ask your health care provider about substances at work or at home that may be harmful to a developing baby so that you can avoid them.
  • Watch for pregnancy danger signs and report them asap to your midwife or doctor.
  • Avoid any medications during pregnancy unless your midwife or doctor specifically tells you to take them. You should even check with your care provider before taking over the counter meds.

Tags: birth defects prevention month


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