Birth Defects Prevention

Commit to Healthy Choices.

Make a PACT for Prevention.

1. Plan ahead

  • Get 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a women has enough folic acid in her body at least one month before during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects.

  • See a 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 she's pregnant.

2. Avoid Harmful Substances

  • Avoid alcohol at anytime during pregnancy
Alcohol in a women's bloodstream passes to the developing baby through the umbilical cord.

  • Avoid marijuana and other "street drugs"
A women who uses marijuana or other "street drugs" during pregnancy can have a baby who is born preterm.

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

3. Choose a healthy lifestyle

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

  • Strive to reach and maintain healthy weight
A woman who is obese before pregnancy is at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy. Obesity-also increases a pregnant woman's risk of several serious birth defects.

4. Talk to your healthcare provider

  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications
we know that certain medications can cause serious birth defects if they are taken during pregnancy.

  • Talk to a healthcare provider about vaccinations
most vaccinations are safe during pregnancy and some vaccinations, such as the flu vaccine and the Tdap vaccine are specifically recommended during pregnancy.