Birth defect is not what any mother wants. After about nine months of pregnancy, the mother-to-be has a high expectation of joy. Any woman who already had a disabled child does not want to have another, and same applies to the woman who has a healthy child. This is why every woman must try all she can to avoid birth defects in her baby.
The first thing to know is that, not all birth defects can be prevented. However, if a woman can adopt certain lifestyle attitudes, she can reduce her chance of giving birth to a baby with defects. Here are some of the things every woman should do, before and during pregnancy to increase her chances of having healthy babies.
Take folic acid daily
Folic acid is a Vitamin B. Enough folic acid in the body of a woman at least a month before and during pregnancy can help prevent major birth defects that develop in the central nervous system like spinal bifida and cerebral palsy. 400 micrograms(mcg) of folic acid daily is necessary for every woman.If you have not been taking folic acid, prior pregnancy, you may start taking it as soon as you find out you are pregnant, into the end of your first trimester.
Avoid harmful substances
All types of alcohol, including wine and beer are harmful to the baby. Smoking also has negative effects that cannot be over-emphasized on you and your baby. Same goes for marijuana and other illicit drugs. All these substances should be avoided by a woman especially during pregnancy.
There are infections that can be harmful to the mother and baby, hence causing birth defects. To prevent some of these infections practice high hygiene such as frequent hand-washing with soap and water, cooking your meat until it’s well cooked and avoiding physical contacts with infected persons.
Finally, always talk to your doctor about medication and how to maintain a healthy weight (especially if you are obese). There are medications that can cause birth defects which you must avoid. If you were once on any medication, let your healthcare provider know. And do not forget your regular prenatal care.
We wish you a healthy nine months and baby dusts to you.