PACT for prevention

Prevent Birth Defects

Plan ahead

  • Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day
Folic acid is a vitamin B. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least one month before pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the developing brain and spine (anencephaly and and spina bifida)

  • See your healthcare professional regularly
A woman planning a pregnancy should be sure to see her doctor once the pregnancy starts and if she suspects she is pregnant. It is important to see the doctor regularly throughout pregnancy, so women should keep all her prenatal care appointments. It is never to early to start planning for a pregnancy.

Avoid any harmful substances

  • Alcohol should be avoided at any time during pregnancy
There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to get pregnant. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities.

  • Avoid cigarettes
Dangers of smoking cigarettes during a pregnancy include preterm birth, certain birth defects, and infant death. Even being around tobacco smoke puts a woman and her pregnancy at risk for problems.

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

  • Prevent infections
some infections during pregnancy can be harmful to the developing baby and can even cause birth defects. Prevention for infections during pregnancy include frequent hand-washing, cook meat until done, and stay away from people who have infection.

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Choose a health lifestyle

  • Keep diabetes under control
Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chance for birth defects and other problems for pregnancy. It can also cause serious complications for the woman.

  • Maintain a healthy weight
A woman who is obese before a pregnancy is at higher for complications during pregnancy, It also increases the risk of serious birth defects.

Talk with your healthcare provider

  • Talk to a healthcare provider about taking medications
Certain medications can cause serious birth defects if they are taken during pregnancy. For many medications taken by pregnancy women, the safety has been difficult to determine. Despite the safety data, some medications are needed to treat serious conditions.

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about vaccinations
Most vaccinations are safe during pregnancy and some are specifically recommended during pregnancy. Having the right vaccinations at the right time can help keep a woman and her baby healthy.

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