National Birth Defects Prevention Month

What Steps Can Women Take to Prevent Birth Defects?

The theme for 2018 is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection.” 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 reducing their risk of getting an infection during pregnancy.

Plan ahead, Avoid harmful substances, Choose a healthy lifestyle, and Talk to your doctor.

Many birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Remember that about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Here are some steps a woman can take to get ready for a healthy pregnancy:

  • Take prenatal vitamins every day
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs
  • Keeps hands clean by washing them often with soap and water to prevent infections
  • See a health care professional regularly
  • Talk with the health care professional about any medical problems and medicine use (both prescription and over-the-counter)
  • Ask about avoiding any substances at work or at home that might be harmful to a developing baby.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and foods made from it
  • Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat

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