Preventing Birth Defects Before and During Pregnancy
The fact of the matter is that some birth defects just cannot be prevented. Some birth defects are genetic, and are entirely out of the control of the parents. Having said that, research in recent years has demonstrated that there are some specific things that can be done in order to help prevent birth defects.
Some of the things you need to do to help prevent birth defects have to take place prior to becoming pregnant. You will want to be certain, first of all, that your vaccinations are up to date. You will want to be free of any sexually transmitted diseases, as some STDs can lead to birth defects. You should make sure that you are getting enough folic acid, which can be found in leafy green vegetables or in orange juice. Many women who are trying to conceive even use a vitamin supplement to make sure that they get enough folic acid. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the chances of specific types of birth defects, including neural tube defects like spina bifida, by as much as half or more.
There are some things that you should avoid before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects. Smoking is known to contribute to the risk of some birth defects, as well as result in having a low birth weight baby. Quitting smoking can help prevent birth defects. Alcohol is also known to increase the risk of some birth defects, and to cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Certain illicit drugs are also thought to cause birth defects and should be avoided.
There are some general health tips for pregnancy that may also help to prevent birth defects. You should get enough exercise and rest during pregnancy. You should, as mentioned, get enough folic acid, as well as other important components of a prenatal vitamin. You should eat a healthy and balanced diet, as well.
If you have a family history of birth defects, or are concerned about birth defects, you should speak with your health care provider. Your health care provider may be able to screen for certain types of birth defects, and can help you to know what to do to prevent birth defects.