Every year approximately 150,000 babies born in the United States are with one or more common birth defects.
While the cause of more than 60% birth defects is still not known, there are various things which you can do as a mother about the wellbeing of your growing baby.
Proper education and awareness are the main keys to prevent the birth defects in your baby. After that, taking proper action can reduce some of the birth defects.
You can follow various tips to enhance the probability of having a healthy pregnancy and also a healthy growing baby.
Some things are more challenging for you because they need breakage of your habits.
Here are some effective tips which you can follow to prevent the birth defects:
1. The first and the most important tip is to maintain good pre conception health by eating well balanced and nutritional meals.
2. If you are sexually active and have great chances for pregnancy, then ensure that you take a daily dosage of multivitamin that consists of recommended dosage of 400 mcg of folic acid and other essential B vitamins. Consuming enough folic acid supplement prevents your baby from birth defects of spine and brain.
These birth defects are called as neural tube defects or NTDs. So, it is essential to take folic acid during pregnancy.
3. Don’t perform any activities that can lead to birth defects such as alcohol consumption, smoking, drug usage and caffeine consumption.
4. If you are suffering from any of the conditions like obesity, diabetes or epilepsy, then it is essential to talk to your health care provider before planning for pregnancy. He/she will suggest you the precautionary measures or prescribe some medications to treat the condition in pregnancy.
You need to avoid smoking as it can increase the risk of oral clefts and other birth defects like Down syndrome, heart and limb defects. Also, avoid the consumption of alcohol and exposure to drugs and chemicals.
5. Ensure that you get an annual wellness and gynecological exams.
6. Make sure that you get genetic counseling and screening for birth defects, mainly if you are having any history of birth defects in your family or if you become pregnant above the age of 35 or older.
7. Stay away from infectious agents that cause serious problems during pregnancy. Avoid harmful germs and parasites by using good hygiene. For example, the parasite that cause toxoplasmosis can be found in raw meat and cat feces and this can lead to severe brain damage in the fetus.
8. You should talk with your doctor before taking any dietary supplements during your pregnancy.
9. Avoid exposure to anything that is toxic for you and your baby like fumes from strong household chemicals like paints, pesticides, gasoline and paint thinner, lead found in some paints and contaminated water sources.
10. Consult your doctor and get necessary vaccinations to prevent chronic illnesses from occurring before planning for pregnancy.