Birth Defects Prevention Month

January may be the beginning of the New Year, however it is also Birth Defects Prevention month. About 1 in 33 babies will be born with a birth defect. While not all birth defects can be prevented, it’s important that women take precautions when pregnant to decrease the chances of their baby being born with defects.

Birth defects tend to happen in the early stages of pregnancy, sometimes before the woman knows she’s pregnant. A woman must get ready before the pregnancy to try and prevent any defects when the child is born. Here is a list of what she can do:

  • Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and any other type of drug
  • Try and keep your hands clean by washing them regularly with soap and water to prevent infections.
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk and any dairy foods made from it
  • Avoid eating any raw or undercooked meat, as well as deli meats
  • Visit your health care provider regularly and speak with them about any medical problems
  • Ask your health care provider if there any substances you should be avoiding either at work or at home. This includes over the counter and prescription drugs.

Taking care of yourself goes hand in hand with the health of your child. If you are drinking alcohol during your pregnancy, there is a chance your baby will develop Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) which can include physical problems and behavior problems. Having a healthy diet and taking vitamins with folic acid can help ensure that your child will be born healthy.

Birth defects are the leading cause of death of babies less than a year old. It is the cause of one in every five children deaths. January is Birth Defects Prevention month – let’s spread awareness.
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