Guidelines for Lowering the Risk of Birth Defects

Guidelines for Lowering the Risk of Birth Defects

Congenital disabilities are one of the leading causes of infant death, accounting for 20% of all infant deaths. Improving your health before and during pregnancy can help lower your risk of giving birth to a child with a congenital disability. These tips include getting prenatal care, eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and avoiding smoking.

Get Regular Checkups

Regular checkups are among the most important ways to prevent congenital disabilities. These visits will help your doctor detect and treat early warning signs when they’re less severe.

Your doctor will take your medical history and conduct other tests during the checkup. They may include blood tests, X-rays, or ultrasounds, particularly private ultrasounds.

It is essential for pregnant women as these checks can prevent some congenital disabilities. In addition, doctors recommend 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for all women of childbearing age to lower the chance of having children with congenital disabilities.

Eat Healthy Foods

Eating healthy foods before and during pregnancy can help reduce the risk of congenital disabilities. Choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein instead of fried or processed foods can make a difference in your diet.

You can manage your blood pressure, keep your weight consistent, and manage your diabetes with a healthy diet. You may experience fewer side effects from menopause, heart disease, and cancer.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise has many benefits that can help you stay healthy. It enables you to lose weight, reduce your disease risk and improve your mood.

Exercising can also help you sleep better and deal with stress. In addition, it can boost your immune system and help you fight illnesses like the common cold.

For most women, exercise is safe during pregnancy but check with your provider before starting an exercise program. You may not be able to exercise if you have been diagnosed with preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks), vaginal bleeding, or your water breaks.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of pregnancy complications and congenital disabilities. These include premature labor, low baby weight, miscarriage, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Pregnant women who smoke are also more likely to have problems with their placenta, which carries food and oxygen for the baby. These problems can be life-threatening to the mother and result in the loss of the pregnancy.

Our study compared the risk of congenital anomalies in women with and without maternal smoking before and during pregnancy. In addition, we evaluated the effect of smoking intensity on the risk of abnormalities based on data collected on birth certificates.

Get Vaccinated

Safeguard your child by getting them vaccinated. Vaccines are safe and effective, and they have helped to save thousands of lives worldwide by eliminating many diseases that once killed or severely disabled people.

Vaccines stimulate the immune system, which defends you against germs that cause disease. They also help to give your immune system a memory, so it will respond when the germs return in the future.

See Your Doctor

Regularly seeing your doctor is essential to reducing the risk of congenital disabilities. It can help your doctor know about any changes in your health and recommend the best treatment choices for you.

Preconception care is critical. It helps women planning a pregnancy talk to their doctors about any health conditions or family history that could affect their chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.

Genetic screening is a cost-effective intervention that can significantly reduce the incidence of specific congenital disabilities. It is particularly true in developing countries where healthcare resources are limited.

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