January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. It is impossible to prevent all birth defects but there are steps mothers can take before and during pregnancy to lower the risk of birth defects in their developing child. Mothers who do not properly manage their health and pregnancy are at high risk of health complications for not only themselves but their infants as well. By adopting healthy behaviors and managing health conditions, your chances of having a healthy baby drastically increase.
The CDC has released five tips for preventing birth defects in infants, which include:
– Fortified foods: You can find folic acid in certain bread, breakfast cereals, and corn masa flour.
– Vitamins: Many vitamins sold in the U.S. have the recommended dosage of folic acid you need. These vitamins can be found in most local pharmacies and grocery stores. Remember to always speak with your doctor or a medical health professional before consuming any vitamins.
– Flu shot: You can receive a flu shot before or during pregnancy.
– Whooping cough vaccine (Tdap): Women can receive a Tdap vaccine in the last 3 months of each pregnancy.
– Alcohol: When trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy, there is no known safe amount of alcohol consumption. This is why it is important to stop drinking when trying to get pregnant, and even more so during pregnancy.
– Tobacco: Not only does smoking cause cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems, it can also harm your developing baby’s health and cause birth defects. By quitting smoking, you will not only feel better but also be providing a healthy environment for your unborn child.
– Other drugs: The use of other drugs during pregnancy can cause health problems for a woman and her baby. A healthcare provider can help you with support services such as counseling and treatment.
If you have questions or concerns regarding your unborn child, know that we are here for you! Contact our office at 561-275-7100.