National Birth Defects Awareness Month – January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.
Not all birth defects can be prevented. But, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and by adopting healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy. Taking care of yourself and doing what’s best for you is also best for your baby!
The following tips are what the CDC recommends to decrease the chances of birth defects.
Take your vitamins!
Folic acid is important because it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. These birth defects develop very early during pregnancy when the neural tube—which forms the early brain and the spinal cord—does not close properly. You need to start taking folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant and continue during pregnancy.In addition to eating foods with natural folate, you can:
Book a visit with your healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine
Many women need to take medicine to stay healthy during pregnancy. If you are planning to become pregnant, discuss your current medicines with a healthcare provider, such as your doctor or pharmacist. Creating a treatment plan for your health condition before you are pregnant can help keep you and your developing baby healthy.
Become up-to-date with all vaccines, including the flu shot.
Vaccines help protect you and your developing baby against serious diseases. Get a flu shot and whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help protect yourself and your baby.
Before you get pregnant, try to reach a healthy weight.
Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are underweight, overweight, or have obesity, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Focus on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.
Boost your health by avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
Have more questions. Call us to speak with your doctor.