Birth Defects Prevention


We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, we also know that women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant. Make a PACT, a commitment to yourself, to get healthy before and during pregnancy by actively trying to plan ahead, avoid harmful substances. choose a healthy lifestyle, and talk with you healthcare provider.
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  1. Get 400 micro grams (mcg) of folic acid every day.

  • Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least one month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the developing brain and spine.

  1. See healthcare professional regularly.

  • A woman should be sure to see her doctor when planning a pregnancy and start prenatal care as soon as she thinks that she is pregnant. It is important to see the doctor regularly throughout pregnancy, so women should keep all her prenatal care appointment.

Avoid harmful substance.

  1. Avoid alcohol at any time during pregnancy
  • Alcohol in a woman's bloodstream passes to the developing baby though the umbilical cord.
  1. Avoid smoking cigarettes.

  • The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include preterm birth, certain birth defects, and infant death.

  1. Avoid marijuana and other "street drugs".

  • A woman who uses marijuana or other "street" drugs during pregnancy can have a baby who is born preterm, of low birth weight, or has other health problems, such as birth defects.

  1. Prevent infections.

  • Some infections that a woman can get during pregnancy can be harmful to the developing baby and can cause birth defects.

Choose a healthy lifestyle

  1. Keep diabetes under control
  • Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the pregnancy.
  1. Strive to reach and maintain a healthy weight

  • A woman who us obese before pregnancy is at a high risk for complications during pregnancy.

Talk with your healthcare provider

  1. Talk to a healthcare provider about taking any medications.
  • We know that certain medications can cause serious birth defects if they are taken during pregnancy.
  1. Talk to a healthcare provider about vaccinations (shots).

  • Most vaccinations are safe during pregnancy and some vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and the Tdap vaccine are specifically recommended during pregnancy.