Follow doctor's orders during National Birth Defects Prevention Month

by Missy Jaramillo

Follow doctor's orders during National Birth Defects Prevention Month

If you're pregnant, chances are someone has asked you if you want a boy or a girl. Unless you truly have a preference, chances are you've answered something along the lines of "I don't care as long as they're healthy." If this is the case, then you should know that January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and now is the time to look into all of the things that you can to do help your baby be born healthy and free of defects. 

According to the official website of the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), defects affect one in every 33 babies born in the U.S. and are a leading cause of infant mortality. Furthermore, babies who are born with abnormalities have an increased risk of experiencing cognitive, physical and social issues. Even with the right medical care, children with birth defects face a long road ahead, which is why it's important for women to do all they can to prevent these issues. 

Help avoid birth defects 
The NBDPN has some recommendations for how you can keep your baby from experiencing birth defects. First, it's important for you to get 400 micrograms of folic acid a day. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), folic acid is a B vitamin that helps the body make new cells and is extremely important for pregnant women. The NIH states that when a woman gets a healthy amount of folic acid{the nutrient} during pregnancy, it helps prevent birth defects in her baby's brain and spine. 

The next suggestion that the NBDPN has when it comes to preventing birth defects is for women to reach and maintain a healthy weight both before and during pregnancy. Obese women have an increased risk of experiencing pregnancy complications that can lead to birth defects, which is why it's important for women who are obese to talk to their doctor about how much weight they should gain during pregnancy, since it may not be as much as they think. 

Also, it's very important to abstain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy, as well as tobacco and illicit drugs. 

Finally, one of the best ways for you to prevent birth defects in your baby is to remain in regular contact with your doctor and follow all of his or her advice. No matter what you may hear from your friends or family, your doctor is the person who knows best. 

What advice has your doctor given you for avoiding birth defects? Leave them here!