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Awareness of Birth Defects Across the Lifespan: Before and During Pregnancy

Birth defects can happen for many reasons. Although not all birth defects can be prevented, people can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant. Here are steps you can take to get ready for pregnancy, stay healthy during pregnancy, and give your baby a healthy start in life:

Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
 Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least 1 month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the developing baby’s brain and spine (anencephaly and spina bifida). Women can get folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a varied diet rich in folate.

Prevent infections. Some infections that a woman might get during pregnancy can be harmful to the developing baby and can even cause birth defects. Check out our 10 tips for preventing infections before and during pregnancy.Pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with nonpregnant women. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy can protect you from severe illness. If you have questions about getting vaccinated, a conversation with your healthcare provider might be helpful, but is not required before vaccination.

See a healthcare professional regularly. Be sure to see a doctor when planning a pregnancy and start prenatal care as soon as possible. It is important to see your physician throughout your pregnancy. Keeping all prenatal care appointments, even telehealth appointments, should be a priority.

Talk to a healthcare provider about taking any medications. Certain medications can cause serious birth defects when taken during pregnancy. If a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy, she should first talk with her healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medications.

Talk to a healthcare provider about vaccinations (shots). Most vaccines are safe during pregnancy and some, such as the flu vaccine and Tdap (adult tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine), are specifically recommended during pregnancy. Learn about vaccinations during pregnancy and learn more about COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Keep diabetes under control. Unmanaged diabetes can increase the chance for birth defects and other problems during pregnancy. To manage your diabetes, see your healthcare provider as recommended before and during pregnancy. Also monitor your blood sugar levels, follow a healthy eating plan developed with your healthcare provider or dietician, be physically active, and take insulin as directed. Learn more about how to manage type 1 or type 2 diabetes during pregnancy and gestational diabetes.

Avoid alcohol at any time during pregnancy. Alcohol in a woman’s bloodstream passes to the developing baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of disabilities. There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. There is also no safe time during pregnancy to drink. All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including all wines and beer.

Avoid smoking cigarettes. The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include preterm birth, certain birth defects (cleft lip or cleft palate), and infant death. Quitting smoking before getting pregnant is best. For a woman who is already pregnant, quitting as early as possible can still help protect against some health problems for the baby, such as low birth weight. It’s never too late to quit smoking.

Avoid marijuana and other drugs. Marijuana use during pregnancy may be linked to lower birth weight in infants. There is no known safe level of marijuana use during pregnancy. Women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should not use marijuana, even in states where marijuana is legal. Women using marijuana for medical reasons should speak with their healthcare provider about an alternative therapy that’s safer for pregnant women.

Avoid overheating and treat fever promptly. During pregnancy, a woman should avoid overheating and treat fever promptly. Overheating can be caused by a fever or exposure to high temperatures (such as getting in a hot tub) that increases a woman’s core temperature. Overheating can increase a woman’s chance of having a baby with certain birth defects.

Strive to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Obesity increases the risk for several serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. If you are underweight, overweight, or have obesity, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Focus on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Dr Bedekar Hospital Thane – Maternity Hospital in Thane Do Get in Touch to Book Appointment With Our Experienced Team of Doctors.

Talk to Us On 022 2542 1438 / 9820913256 Or Email Us At

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Published by Dr Bedekar Hospital for Women and Children Thane

Bedekar Hospital in Thane offering services like Maternity, Childcare, NICU, Fertility, Infertility treatments, etc

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