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Ways of Avoiding Birth Defects During Pregnancy

by Yash Ranjan
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The most spectacular time in a woman’s life is when she is pregnant. The butterflies slowly turn into tiny hands and feet that will soon be running around. 

You’re preparing a welcome party for your kid, and you’re pretty sure things will go as smoothly as possible. 

But, there is anxiety in the middle of all this excitement. Nobody can know the future, but there are things you can do to lower your risk of having a baby with congenital disabilities.

What Causes Birth Defects?

Many things can cause birth defects. Some, like Down Syndrome, are caused by a chromosomal abnormality. 

Others, like spina bifida, happen when the neural tube doesn’t close properly in the womb. Many birth defects have no known cause.

The following factors raise your likelihood of having a baby with a birth defect:

  • Having a family history of birth defects
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol during pregnancy
  • Taking certain medications or supplements
  • Being obese or underweight

There are several causes for birth defects, so it’s critical to consult with your doctor if you have any concerns. 

In some cases, incompetency of the cervix or premature rupture of membranes (PROM) can lead to birth defects, while in others, it could be due to medical malpractice. 

However, if a patient feels mistreated, it is crucial to contact a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss the situation.

With professional help, you may be able to file a lawsuit against severe cases like cerebral palsy malpractice or wrongful death.

Folic Acid to the Rescue:

The first step is to begin taking folic acid. It’s a water-soluble vitamin that can be purchased over the counter. 

Folic acid can be found in leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fortified cereals. The recommended dose is 400 micrograms a day. It should be increased to 600 micrograms a day if you have diabetes or are obese.

Folic acid is a vital Vitamin B for the healthy development of a fetus’s brain and spine. It can also prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) in the baby. These defects occur in the earliest weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.

Taking folic acid every day, beginning at least one month before attempting to conceive, is critical when preparing for a pregnancy. You must continue taking folic acid during the first three months of pregnancy.

Say No to Harmful Substances:

Alcohol, street drugs, and tobacco can cause severe birth defects. It is significant to stop using them when you’re trying to conceive or are pregnant. 

There’s no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy. Alcohol use can cause problems for your baby, including premature birth, low birth weight, and lifelong physical and behavioral issues. It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether.

Additionally, smoking cigarettes and using other tobacco products increase the risk for miscarriage, preterm labor, and other health problems for both the mother and baby. 

If you smoke, quitting is the best way to protect your baby. If you want to quit smoking before getting pregnant, speak with your doctor. They can help you find resources and support groups to help you quit for good.

Drugs, legal and illegal, can also harm your baby. If you’re addicted to opioids and are pregnant, certain medicines, such as methadone and buprenorphine, can be taken safely. 

But other drugs are not safe for pregnant women and can cause serious health problems for both the mother and baby.

Even if you have a prescription, don’t use any medicines, legal or illicit, without consulting with your doctor.

Make Healthier Choices:

It’s all in the diet, and it applies to your baby. Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to avoid birth defects. Ensure you’re getting plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat proteins.

You should also avoid eating foods with high levels of mercury or other harmful chemicals. Because some fish have a lot of mercury, you should eat as little of it as possible. 

You can find out which types of fish are safe to eat during pregnancy by checking out the FDA’s website.

Most pregnant women need about 300-500 extra calories per day to support their growing baby. So make sure you include enough healthy foods in your diet – and not overindulge in unhealthy junk food.

Water intake is also crucial, mainly because it can help avoid dehydration and constipation. You must have at least eight glasses of water each day. In addition, avoid caffeinated beverages, as they can cause dehydration and increase the risk of miscarriage.

You Can Still Workout:

Pregnancy is not a time to stop being active. Staying active can help reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy. However, before starting any new exercise program, see your doctor first.

Some exercises are not recommended for pregnant women, such as high-impact activities or those that involve contact sports. 

But there are plenty of safe and effective exercises you can do, like walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, and light weightlifting.

You can also join a pregnancy exercise class, which can be a great way to meet other pregnant moms and get expert guidance on staying fit during pregnancy.

Wear The Right Clothing:

Surprised? Well, tight clothing can put a lot of pressure on your abdomen and restrict the baby’s movement. So, make sure to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothes during pregnancy.

Your baby needs space to grow, so flaunt that bump in style! Also, avoid wearing anything too tight around your waist or upper body. It will help reduce your risk of developing pregnancy-related problems like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.

Here’s some good news: maternity jeans are in style now! So, invest in a few pairs of jeans that fit you well.

Push the Stress Away:

During pregnancy, it’s crucial to reduce your stress levels. Studies have shown that high-stress levels can lead to complications during pregnancy. 

You can do this by reading a good book, going for walks in the park, or taking a hot bath. Whatever makes you feel relaxed and comfortable, do it.

Also, make sure to get plenty of rest and sleep. Pregnancy can be exhausting, so make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. More importantly, when this little one is out, you’ll need all the energy you can get!

Be Cautious of Technology:

What? Technology? How? We’re not saying you have to live in a cave without modern conveniences. But there are certain types of technology that you should avoid while pregnant. 

For example, studies have shown that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) can harm both the mother and the developing baby. So, it’s best to stay away from things like microwaves, cell phones, and computers (don’t look at us like that!). 

Reduce your exposure to EMFs as much as possible if this is not already the case.

Massage chairs and beds can also be harmful to the baby, as they often use high levels of magnetic energy. Therefore, if you’re a fan of these chairs, you may want to take a break from them during pregnancy.

Ending Note:

In most scenarios, you control your environment and can make choices that will help reduce your exposure to toxins and other harmful substances. 

Introducing some minor changes in your lifestyle can help ensure a healthy pregnancy for both you and your baby. 

Just make it a point to always consult with your doctor before making any significant changes, as they will advise you on what is best for you and your situation.

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