Much about birth defects is unknown, but there are steps women can take to lessen the chances.
January is National Birth Defect Prevention month, and we want to take this time to discuss what is known about birth defects, as well as steps a prospective mom can take toward prevention.
A birth defect is a condition that is present at birth. Some birth defects can be seen immediately after the baby is born, such as a clubfoot or extra fingers or toes. Some birth defects aren’t so easy to identify. Special tests may be needed to find birth defects, such as heart defects or hearing loss.
The CDC maintains statistics on the most common birth defects, as well as insightful descriptions of them.
What Causes Birth Defects?
We don’t know what causes the majority of birth defects. Some are caused by genes that can be passed from parents to children. Others result from a problem with chromosomes. However, some birth defects are caused by exposure during pregnancy to certain medications, infections and chemicals (such as alcohol or other substances).
How Do I Prevent Birth Defects?
While we don’t know precisely what causes most birth defects, there are steps a prospective mother can take to decrease the chances.
- See your doctor regularly and start prenatal care as soon as you think you’re pregnant or are planning to get pregnant.
- Know your risk factors.
- Take a daily multivitamin before and during pregnancy.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Check with your doctor about what medications you are taking and if they may harm your baby.
- Do not use alcohol, cannabis or any other substance for a nonmedical reason.
If you are planning to get pregnant, it’s a good idea to see your doctor to discuss your health, medication history and any risk factors you have. Contact us today to discuss your plan for a healthy pregnancy and use the hashtag #Best4YouBest4Baby to learn more and spread awareness.