Preventing Birth Defects: Steps to Take Before and During Pregnancy


Nature has provided every organism with extreme defense mechanisms towards their off-spring and human beings are not an exception. In turn, humans do not leave any stone unturned to safeguard their younger ones with the help of their unique property called intelligence. Mother Nature has deployed the maternal and paternal instincts in humans. These instincts motivate them to take very special care when it comes to nurturing their off-spring. A care-free young lady with a lesser sense of responsibility turns explicitly defensive while taking care of the child and this in fact starts even before the child is born.

Thanks to technology which is making us plan the pregnancy and its ability to be able to analyze it for any defects the neonate may have soon after birth. There are even established facts which can suggest us about the measures to be taken in order to prevent birth defects. However, there are 4% of disorders which affect an unborn child irrespective of the care taken. Rest of them can be avoided with few habit changes. They may be a little tough to handle but when you’ve planned for a baby, your preferences automatically change and the priorities will be shifted from you to your baby. Let us find some measures to be taken during pregnancy to keep your baby free from congenital disorders.

· Start on folic acid supplements: Folic acid is the most essential element for a pregnant woman in shaping up her baby’s brain and spine. Folic acid is a vitamin B available from fortified foods and supplements.

· Alcohol consumption can be disastrous: A developing baby in the fetus may get alcohol in the mother’s blood stream through the umbilical cord and it can be fatal for the baby. Miscarriages may be vulnerable with alcohol abuse in pregnancy. Still birth and a series of long lasting intellectual, physical and behavioral disorders are susceptible. No particular time and no specific variety of alcohol are ever suggested to pregnant women. Termed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), they are imminent with alcohol abuse.

· Stop smoking when you are planning for pregnancy: Pre-mature birth, cleft lip, cleft palette and infant death are the possible ailments smoking may cause to a pregnant woman and her neonate. Being around tobacco smoke itself is harmful for the mother and the fetus. Hence, it is good to avoid being in the vicinity where someone is smoking.

· Drugs are a threat for pregnant women and their fetuses: It is nothing but putting your baby in jeopardy with the consumption of drugs. These can lead to premature labour with low birth weight, placental abruption, intra-uterine death (IUD) and maternal death. Any kind of drugs are not safe at any particular level.

Leading a healthy lifestyle by consuming nutritious diet within the norms of the pregnancy diet is very important. If you are planning your pregnancy, it is recommended that your BMI should be brought down if you are considered as ‘obese’. The risk of serious birth defects escalates with every extra pound the mother gathers. Diabetes and blood pressure to be kept under control as it has a negative impact on the fetus. Keep visiting the doctor in regular intervals to get your health condition monitored. An ideal healthcare provider would suggest you the necessary medications during pregnancy and the vaccinations which are required during pregnancy. Pregnant women with infections are at greater risk of having babies with birth defects. Your doctor should be aware of your condition if there are any infections on you. These measures and little care can get you a healthy baby in your hands as it is time to prioritize on the baby.