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Six Ways to Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects in Your Baby

Did you know that your lifestyle may have many impacts on your baby's health? Try and make some healthy changes to give your baby a healthy future.

You may be often showered upon with advices regarding your choices during pregnancy, which may affect your growing babies. But, hardly anyone knows that your lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy can also affect your baby’s health.

For couples who dream of becoming parents, it’s very crucial for them to know that birth defects are among a few abnormalities which would be parents face nowadays. It can be minor or severe, but a few steps from your end can increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Here are some helpful tips to follow before and during pregnancy to prevent the birth defects in your baby.

Image source: mentalfloss

1. A healthy lifestyle

It is said that “There is no better time than now to start living healthy.” Choosing a healthy lifestyle is an essential step to be taken for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. There is nothing worth risking your baby’s health. So, switching yourself to healthy eating is the initial step towards adopting a good lifestyle. If you feel stressed, you can always join prenatal yoga classes or meditations to de-stress yourself. As a stress-free pregnancy is a key to healthy babies.

2. No to alcohol, smoking cigarettes and drugs

Isn’t it the right time to rethink? If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, saying NO to alcohol, smoking and drugs is must. Consuming alcohol can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, inhibit fetal growth and fetal alcohol syndrome. Smoking and drugs have hazardous effects like premature birth, low birth weight and certain other defects like cleft palate. So, it’s better to avoid these habits when you are planning for a baby.

3. 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day

Have a smart and healthy baby with regular intake of Folic acid before and during pregnancy as it reduces the risks of certain birth defects related to the brain and spinal cord of your baby. Consuming 400 mcg of folic acid every day can help in keeping birth defects like spina bifida, anencephaly and encephalocele, away from your baby. Since, these defects occur during the initial period of pregnancy, it is very important that you start taking your folic acid dose from the beginning itself.

To know the importance of folic acid during preconception and pregnancy read here .

4. Prevent infections

A pregnant woman can get very easily infected and the infections like Toxoplasmosis and genital herpes can be very harmful for your unborn fetus. They can lead to birth defects. Following healthy hygiene habits can help you avoid these infections during pregnancy. Healthy habits like washing hands properly, eating well cooked meal, and staying away from people who have any kind of infection, may help you stay away from infections.

5. Regular health checkup, medications & vaccinations guidance

How does your body change during the nine months of your pregnancy? Getting regular checkup is the only way to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy. Regular contact with your doctor helps in early detection and easy treatment of health issues during pregnancy. Regular checkups and tests will ensure that both the pregnancy and your baby are healthy. You must also be careful about taking medications and vaccinations. It is recommended to get your doctor’s advice before taking any kind of medicines or shots.

6. Watch your weight

Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of birth defects and other complications related to labor and delivery. It is good to consult your doctor about how to reach a healthy weight before you conceive. You can involve yourself with some light exercises to maintain a healthy weight during your pregnancy.

These simple steps can help you in reducing the chances of birth defects in your baby. If you have any such suggestion to share with us, please write to us in the comment section below.

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