Birth defects are such that you cannot always avoid them. But it is better to take necessary steps to increase your chances of having a baby which is healthy and for the same, make sure to manage health conditions as well as adopt healthy behaviors before and during the process of the pregnancy.
Birth Defects are Rare but Can be Serious, Here is How you can Completely Reduce the Risks!
1. 400 micrograms of folic acid is to be consumed every day for sure.
If we take the baby’s brain and spine into consideration, folic acid is instrumental for its development and prevention of any major birth defects. This kind of birth defect is such that it develops during the early stages of pregnancy when the neural tube does not close properly. It is responsible for forming the early brain and spinal cord. Make sure you begin taking folic acid around a month before your pregnancy and continue to consume it throughout your pregnancy.
What else you should do in addition to having natural folate:
On a daily basis, pop a vitamin with folic acid. The recommended amount of folic acid required for women each day is always mentioned on the bottles in countries outside. Make sure to check the label on the bottle for 100% of the daily value of folic acid i.e. around 400 mcg. Fortified foods are to be consumed. In what other food items can you find folic acid? It is present in bread, breakfast cereals as well as corn masala flour. The nutrient facts label which is present, check for 100% to be mentioned beside folic acid.
2. Inform your healthcare provider before taking any kind of medications.
What medications you decide to take or not to take before, after, and during your pregnancy should be discussed with a professional. Make sure to keep in mind all the advantages, disadvantages, as well as a proper treatment plan, should be put into place for the pregnancy phase to be conducted smoothly.
Do you know why this is important? This is because medications are related to birth defects. If getting pregnant is on your mind in the coming future, let your healthcare provider prescribe you drugs, so that your medication is in sync with your pregnancy. It also happens in a few cases that pregnancy needs to be delayed to a later time until the medication has been removed from your system. Sometimes, a medical condition of yours might become worse and harm your baby much more than taking the risk of the medication.
3. Make sure to be done with all your vaccinations.
For making sure that you and your baby turn out to be healthy, get the right vaccines at the right time. These include influenza, tetanus diphtheria and acellular pertussis. This is important as one of the most fearful causes of birth defects is unnecessary infections. Not every infection can be prevented by you but you can do all possible to reduce the risk. Make sure you do not travel to such remote areas where there are problems with sanitation, avoid eating raw or uncooked food and all your fruits and vegetables should be properly washed before consumption.
4. Be healthy before your pregnancy.
Your health is extremely important and hence you should try not to go towards the obese side. It enhances the risk for many serious birth defects as well as other pregnancy complications.
5. Alcohol, tobacco and drugs are to be prevented during pregnancy.
Make sure to avoid harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco and drugs as there is no such safe amount which you should consume during pregnancy. Smoking can actually cause serious damage to the placenta and can enter into the baby’s bloodstream. Also, a lot of babies have taken birth in a premature manner and are detected with neonatal abstinence syndrome. They also have required drug withdrawal treatments. The best advice would be to prevent opioids or illegal drugs totally during pregnancy.
Apart from these, some environmental agents can also enhance the risk of birth defects. If you live somewhere near to places with increasing lead exposure, make sure you avoid being there during your pregnancy period. Vitamin A should be strongly avoided as they are considered to be quite dangerous when it comes to causing birth defects. Avoid high-dose supplements so that you stay under the required 10,000 international units of vitamin A per day. How can you limit your exposure to Mercury? Avoid eating fish with enhanced mercury content like shark, swordfish, mackerel and tilefish. Fish can be totally avoided during pregnancy.
Published on: 27th September 2021