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Birth Defect Awareness

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Birth Defects Prevention

Below is information on ways to plan for a healthy pregnancy and avoid birth defects with you friends, followers, family and patients. During these tough times, it is more important than ever to support each other, and allow women to make the best decisions for themselves and their babies.

Not all birth defects can be prevented but there are ways to increase having a healthy baby. If you manage conditions and live a healthy lifestyle before and after pregnancy, the chances of a healthy newborn are higher. Remember to take care for yourself and your baby.

Try to reach a healthy weight before pregnancy.

Obesity increases the risk for birth defects and other pregnancy complications. Talk about ways to reach a healthy weight if you are underweight, overweight, or have obesity with a healthcare provider before pregnancy. Focus on a lifestyle that revolves around healthy eating and regular exercise.

Try to keep diabetes under control. Diabetes during pregnancy increases the risk of birth defects and other problems during pregnancy. It can cause serious complications for women. Proper health care before and during pregnancy can help prevent this from happening.

400 micrograms of folic acid everyday

Folic acid is important because it can prevent major birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine. Consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily prior to getting pregnant. This will ensure your newborn’s proper development and growth. You can get folic acid by eating foods with folate or from

  • Vitamins with folic acid in it;
    • Most vitamins in the United States have recommended amount of folic acid (400 mcg) that you need
    • Vitamins can be purchased at local pharmacy, discount store, or grocery. Check the label on the bottle to see it there is 100% of the daily value of folic acid, which is 400 mcg.
  • Eat fortified foods;
    • Find folic acid in some breads, breakfast cereals, and corn masa flour.
    • Check the nutrient facts label and look for a produce that has “100%” next to folate.
  • Combine the two: take a vitamin that has folic acid and eat fortified foods.

Visit a healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine

Many women in need medicine to stay healthy during pregnancy. Discuss current medications with a healthcare provider if you are planning to get pregnant. Create a treatment plan for you are pregnant to help keep you and your developing baby healthy.

Become up to date with vaccines, including flu shot.

Vaccines can help prevent you or your baby from developing serious diseases. Get a flu shot annually and a whooping cough vaccine (also called Tdap) during each pregnancy to help yourself and your baby.

  • Flu: Get a flu shot each pregnancy
  • Whooping Cough: You can get the whooping cough vaccine in the last three months of each pregnancy.
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