Make a PACT for Prevention!

Commit to Healthy Choices to help Prevent Birth Defects

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Plan ahead.

  • Get 400 micro grams 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. Women can get folic acid from fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a varied diet rich in fol ate.

Avoid harmful substances.

  • Avoid alcohol at any time during pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities in the child are known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. The best advice for women is to stop drink alcohol when trying to get pregnant.
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Choose a healthy lifestyle.

  • Keep diabetes under control
Poor control of diabetes during pregnancy increases the chances for birth defects and other problems for the pregnancy. It can also cause serious complications for the woman. Proper healthcare before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects and other poor outcomes.

Talk with your healthcare provider.

  • 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. For many medications taken by pregnant woman, the safety has been difficult to determine. Despite the limited safety data, some medications are needed to treat serious conditions. If a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy, she should not stop taking medications she needs or begin taking new medications without first talking with her healthcare provider. This includes prescription and over the counter medications and dietary or herbal products.
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Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also can be stressful. Knowing that you are doing all that you can to get ready for pregnancy, staying healthy during pregnancy, and giving your baby a healthy start in life will help you to have peace of mind.