A birth defect, also known as a congenital disorder, is a physical or biochemical abnormality that develops during pregnancy and becomes present at birth. There are different types of birth defects and different causes as well. A certain condition of birth defect might be caused by problems with genetics or chromosomes. In some cases, when women get infections during pregnancy, the baby may have a higher risk of acquiring a birth defect. More and more, a mother’s exposure to high levels of medications, chemicals, or other agents during pregnancy can also lead to this kind of abnormality. However, some causes of several birth defects still remain unknown and hence it is imperative to take care of your health in the course of your pregnancy.
Although not all abnormalities can be prevented due to genetics and other external causes, there are still several preventive ways to turn down the risks of birth defects. But on top of them is total self-care because what’s best for you is also best for your baby. Below are other ways to help avoid the likelihood of birth defects in your future kids.
Take note of a family member’s birth defect.
Children can never choose their parents but you can. If you are certain that no one from your family may have suffered from birth defects, then it’s time to do some background check on your partner. Remember, genetics may play a huge part in some congenital disorders and so making sure that both family members are free from defects can reduce your worries. Do not hesitate to take a pre-pregnancy planning appointment with your gynaecologist if you have concerns about genetics.
Obtain a healthy weight before impregnation.
Every woman knows that the next big thing after getting hitched is pregnancy. So, if you start making plans about having a baby, you also have to start focusing on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity. Suffering from obesity or undernourishment can increase the chance of birth defects and other pregnancy complications. So, if you feel like your body would be needing some improvement, consult your healthcare provider. Doctors would likely recommend doing daily exercises and eating healthy food for pregnant women.
Abstain from cigars, alcohols, and other drugs.
Boosting your health would also mean refraining from harmful substances with high nicotine patch, which can affect your pregnancy in a bad way. So, you really have to stop these habits as soon as you start trying to get pregnant as these substances may harm the development of the infant during pregnancy.
Visit your healthcare provider.
Before and throughout pregnancy, make sure to visit your doctor and hear some helpful advice on how you can maintain the baby’s healthy development. It’s always smart to consult for treatment plans if you suffer from any health conditions. Undergoing multiple ultrasound examinations during pregnancy is not really harmful as this procedure does not use radiation as others do.
Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
In addition to taking healthy foods with natural folate, consuming at least 400 micrograms of folic acid multivitamin every day will help you prevent birth defects in the brain and spine as these parts begin to develop. You can also eat alternative foods that contain folic acids such as fortified milk, bread, cereals, and corn masa flour.
Protect yourself with vaccines.
Getting vaccines before or during pregnancy helps you fight infections that may cause cough, flu, and other serious diseases that stimulate the risks of birth defects. But be careful when taking vaccinations as not all might be prescribed and updated. Always consult your physician before taking any medications or vaccines.