Though all birth defects cannot be prevented, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by managing certain health conditions and by adopting a healthy lifestyle. During the pregnancy and even before planning for it, it is essential to take care of yourself by doing what’s best for you and your baby!
On account of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has suggested these 5 tips for preventing birth defects.
Tip 1. Take 400 mcg of folic acid every day without fail!
Folic acid helps prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine that usually develop very early during pregnancy. Hence, start taking folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant and continue during pregnancy. So,
• Take a vitamin that has folic acid (400mcg) in it every day.
• Eat foods rich in folic acids like bread, breakfast cereals, and cornflour.
Tip 2. Consult the doctor before starting any medicine
If you are planning for pregnancy, discuss the intake of current medicines (for other health conditions, if any) with your doctor. Creating a treatment plan for your health conditions before pregnancy helps to keep you and your developing baby healthy.
Tip 3. Become up-to-date with all vaccines
Vaccination helps protect you and your developing baby against dangerous health conditions. Get a flu shot, whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
Tip 4. Try to reach a healthy weight before pregnancy
Obesity increases the risk for serious birth defects and other pregnancy-related complications. If you are underweight or overweight, talk to your doctor about the ways to maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant.
Focus on a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Tip 5. Avoid harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco during pregnancy
Alcohol: Avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy or even before planning for that because alcohol may cause problems for a developing baby.
Tobacco: Apart from causing cancer, heart disease, and other health problems, smoking during pregnancy may cause certain birth defects. Hence, quit smoking as it helps you feel better and provide a healthy environment for your baby.
Other Drugs: Using certain drugs during pregnancy may cause health problems for you and your baby. Consult the doctor if you can’t control taking certain medications. Your doctor may help you with counselling, treatment, and other support services.
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