Ways to prevent birth defects

Finding out that you’re pregnant is an exciting time, and you are probably making many efforts to make sure that the baby is as healthy as possible. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are ways women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby and developing healthy lifestyle habits too.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects are critical conditions that affect one in every 33 babies born in the United States alone. The defects can affect any part of the body and vary from mild to severe. Birth defects can occur in any stage of pregnancy, but are most likely to occur during the first three months when the baby’s organs are developing.

There are ways a woman can prevent birth defects before and during pregnancy to increase her chances of having a healthy baby:

  • If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, schedule a preconception visit with a certified nurse-midwife or an obstetrician.
  • See your health care provider regularly and schedule prenatal visits as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
  • Do not drink or smoke.
  • Get adequate prenatal care.
  • Talk to your doctor about any medications you take in case they are unsafe for the baby.
  • Develop or maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep yourself safe.
  • Take a daily prenatal vitamin that has at least 400 mcg of folic acid.

Although some birth defects cannot be prevented, the probability of having a baby with birth defects can be reduced. Taking preventative measures will help your baby be healthy and for you to stay healthy as well. No matter what your needs are, talk to your health care provider to discuss the proper care needed to reduce the chances of having a baby with birth defects.

Schedule an appointment with a certified nurse-midwife, obstetrician or gynecologist at UofL Physicians – OB/GYN & Women’s Health by calling 502-588-4400.