Simple ways to prevent birth defects

Jipange mapema

Pregnant woman in hospital(communitytable.parade)

Some birth defects are genetic and there is nothing that can be done to prevent them.

Even so, some can be prevented by being committed to leading a healthy lifestyle. And this is not hard to do if you really care about the wellbeing of your baby. Leading a healthy lifestyle requires sacrifice and you thus must be willing to drop some bad habits that are likely to affect your unborn baby.

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of birth defects in your baby:

1. Plan early

If you are planning to get pregnant, don’t just plan your finances. Change your lifestyle early enough way before pregnancy. If you are overweight or underweight, work towards achieving a healthy weight. Also, eat healthy foods to prepare your body for conception. You could also start your folic acid dose a month before so that the body has enough of it by the time you are conceiving.

2. Never ever skip prenatal care

For whatsoever reasons, don’t even think about skipping prenatal care. As soon as you know that you are pregnant, start seeing a doctor. It’s the best way to monitor and ensure a healthy pregnancy. You will also be advised on what foods to take and the best supplements for a healthy baby.

3. Don’t just buy drugs over the counter

And if you do, ensure you discuss it with the pharmacist. This is not the time to get any antibiotics you feel like when you have a fever. Some medicines may affect your pregnancy and you must reveal that you are pregnant to the pharmacist so that they can give you the safest medication.

4. Quit using harmful substances

Remember we said it’s all about sacrifice? Alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and all other harmful drugs are a no during pregnancy. If you are an addict, you will need to work on your addiction before getting pregnant to prevent birth defects.

5. Healthy diet

If you are not sure what you should be eating, talk to your doctor and they will advise you accordingly. But basically, foods rich in folic ensure your baby does not develop brain and spine defects. Such foods include spinach, broccoli, cereals, citrus fruits among others. Not forgetting your daily dosage of folic acid.

6. Watch out for infections

As a pregnant woman, you are at a higher risk of getting infections. Be very careful with substances and environments that can bring about infections. Some sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to birth defects. If you have multiple partners, therefore, use protection during intercourse.

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