We all know that when you’re pregnant, the health of your baby is your number one priority! No matter how careful and aware you are, there is always a fear in a mother’s mind in regards to the health and safety of her baby.
It’s important to start adopting healthy behaviours as a pregnant woman to avoid developing birth defects. Birth defects are unfortunately common, as critical conditions affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States each year.
Birth defects are structural changes that occur at birth and can affect almost any part of your baby’s body. These changes can impact how your baby’s body looks or functions. Although many defects are easy to see, some can only be detected by using special tests by doctors.
Because birth defects are an unfortunate reality that many families face today, it is extremely crucial for you, as a mother, to reduce your risk factors and have a healthy pregnancy. Here are some ways for you to prevent birth defects.
If you are trying to get pregnant, you have the upperhand in getting prepared and planning ahead before you get pregnant. There are many things you can do prior to expecting a child that can help you and your soon-to-be baby stay healthy and reduce the risks of your baby developing any birth defects.
Something to consider before trying to get pregnant is taking prenatal vitamins. Staying healthy during your pregnancy comes down to the extra vitamins and supplements that you put into your body, as your baby will benefit from this as well.
Try to get 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Having this intake in your body at least one month before getting pregnant will prevent major birth defects of the developing brain and spine of your baby.
In addition to taking the prenatal vitamins before conceiving your baby, planning your pregnancy is extremely important in order to get into the right mindset of being a healthy pregnant woman. Take this time to plan out what measures you will be taking to ensure a healthy pregnancy, whether that be taking your supplements, avoiding harmful substances, and adapting to a healthy lifestyle.
Choose A Healthy Lifestyle
Make sure you’re in the right mindset to get healthy before and during your pregnancy. Getting your health under control will also help to improve the health of your baby and reduce the risk of birth defects.
Have A Healthy Diet. Feel free to relish in your pregnancy cravings, however it is also important to make sure you are maintaining a healthy weight and balanced diet that includes healthy nutrients that you and your baby needs. Women run a lower risk of having babies with birth defects if they have a diet filled with rich nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Stay Active. Your body will be going through a lot of changes during your pregnancy, this is inevitable. Not only will staying active help you to combat some of the changes that are happening to your body, but it will help you to develop a healthy mind! Exercising is a good idea for pregnant women, especially if you are healthy and receiving prenatal care.
Avoid Harmful Substances
This is a very well known rule going into your pregnancy -- however it cannot be emphasized enough! Avoid putting harmful substances into your body as it can negatively impact your health, as well as your baby’s.
Avoid alcohol at any point during your pregnancy. There is no known safe amount of alcohol that a pregnant woman can consume, which means there is no safe time to drink alcohol. Even having one drink a day has been shown to have negative effects on a developing baby.
When a woman drinks alcohol, the alcohol will be passed through the bloodstream to the developing baby through the umbilical cord. Drinking alcohol during your pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioural, and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities that occur in your child because of alcohol consumption is called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).
Avoid Smoking Cigarettes. Smoking during pregnancy exposes you and your baby to many harmful chemicals within cigarettes. This will limit the baby’s oxygen supply and the delivery of nutrients, which is extremely crucial for a growing fetus.
Smoking and drugs during pregnancy has been linked to many health problems such as problems with the placenta, premature birth, birth defects, low birth weight, and pregnancy loss. The most common types of birth defects caused by smoking during pregnancy are congenital heart defects and problems with the structure of your baby’s heart.
Knowing the risks and harms that smoking can cause your baby, it is extremely important to quit the habit of smoking even before trying to conceive a baby.
Overall, you must take action to ensure a healthy pregnancy and to avoid your baby being born with any birth defects. Let those motherly instincts come through and take care of yourself and the baby inside that belly of yours!