How to Greatly Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects in Your Baby

by | Oct 9, 2019

As a pregnant woman, one of your biggest worries is probably that something could be wrong with your baby. We all pray for a healthy baby and most babies are born perfectly fine.

However, there are some rare occurrences that a baby may experience problems in their mothers’ womb. These problems could include the formation of different organs and how they are working or there could be a problem with a baby’s metabolism process, to name a few.

These problems are known as birth defects. There are thousands of birth defects — some of which require little to no treatment, to major ones that could require surgery.

Reduce the chances of your baby developing a birth defect in the womb by adhering to these tips to stay healthy for your growing fetus.

Causes of Birth Defects

In the majority of cases, the doctor doesn’t know what exactly caused a birth defect in a baby.

Generally, birth defects are caused by exposure to a virus or a harmful chemical inside the womb. It could also be a genetic problem that was passed down from a parent or just a spontaneous mutation in a gene.

Unfortunately, if a baby has one birth defect, they may experience multiple problems simultaneously. The risk of birth defects in a child are always there, however, with proper management of health conditions, and following a healthy routine, a mother can greatly reduce this risk in her child.

There are several birth defects that can be diagnosed by professional doctors before birth through recommended procedures, including genetic screenings. They can also determine whether a mother is completely healthy or any other problem that may prove injurious for the child. 

If the parents know that there are problems with their child, they are in a better position to seek professional help and cope with it beforehand.

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How to Reduce the Risks of Birth Defects 

Below are some simple and common methods in which the risk of birth defects can be mitigated. Although there is still always a small chance of a fetus developing a defect in the womb or having a genetic predisposition for it, your risk will be lowered if you take some of the following precautions.

1. Take Folic Acid Regularly

Folic acid is a form of folate which is one of the ‘B’ Vitamins. Folic acid is required by our bodies for preparing the RNA and DNA in both and adult and a growing fetus. It is also essential for breaking down amino acids and very important in preventing birth defects.

Human beings cannot produce folic acid inside their bodies, which is why they need to consume it in their diet. The defects concerning the nervous system, including the spine and brain, could develop due to a lack of folic acid in a mother’s diet.

At least 400 grams of folic acid is required daily for a normal human body and a pregnant woman. It is available in some foods, but it is suggested that you take it as a supplement before and while pregnant to guarantee that you are indeed getting the recommended amount.

Folic acid is naturally present in some fortified foods, including breads, cereals and flour. Dark green vegetables like broccoli and spinach and dried legumes such as chickpeas, beans and lentils are naturally good sources of folate.

In the United States, Prenatal vitamins contain the required amount of folic acid. It can be confirmed by reading the label and making sure that it contains 400 mg. Prenatal vitamins also offer other vitamins and minerals that can help both you and your baby to grow strong and healthy.

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2. Go For Regular Prenatal Check Ups

Regular checkups with a qualified and experienced medical practitioner is a must during pregnancy, especially before starting or stopping certain medications. It is essential for some women to take medicine during pregnancy. If you and your partner are planning to have a baby, visit a medical practitioner and discuss your medications with them.

That person is qualified to carry out an analysis of your current condition, and develop a suitable plan for you so that you remain healthy during pregnancy. If the mother is healthy, there is a high chance that the baby will be too.

At regular appointments, the doctor will check via ultrasound or doppler for any abnormalities or causes of concern.

3. Get Essential Vaccinations

Vaccination serves as a shield against serious medical issues, both for yourself and your baby. Make sure you are up-to-date on all current vaccinations before even trying to concevie.

Vaccines are essential for you and the baby because simple health issues may seem trivial to a healthy adult, but they can cause serious problems with a developing fetus.

You can and should get vaccinated for the flu, whopping cough, and other serious health risks before or during your pregnancy period. A flu vaccine can be taken before or after you get pregnant, while vaccination for whooping cough can be taken around three months after getting pregnant.

Consult with your physician if there are any vaccines that they would recommend to you before or during pregnancy, specific to your situation.

4. Maintain Your Weight

Obese mothers carry higher risks of having a child with birth defects and can cause many other problems during pregnancy. Underweight women also carry the same issues. 

It is necessary for both obese and underweight women to consult their medical practitioners to advise them on how they can obtain the correct weight for a healthy baby.

In fact, simply attaining an average weight is not enough. You must maintain a healthy lifestyle until the child is born by eating a healthy, balanced diet and exercising or participating in light to medium activity daily.

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5. Stay Clear of Harmful Materials or Products

Cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs must be avoided during pregnancy.

Medical science has yet to discover the amount of alcohol which might be safe for consumption by women during their pregnancy. Therefore, avoiding it altogether is your best option since it can prove to be very harmful for a child.

Health problems caused by smoking are widely known for adults, however, not everyone knows that it can also pose problems for a baby as it is developing.

Taking illegal drugs during pregnancy is not advisable at all and some over-the-counter or prescription drugs are not recommended, as well. Each and every drug can have harmful ingredients that may impair the chemical composition of the womb.

Therefore, consult your physician on any medications you may be taking, whether it be ingested or topical.

Check out this list of drugs that are safe to take during pregnancy. If your medication is not on this list, consider it unsafe.

The Final Word

While the mother carries a child with her, she must take care of herself in a proper manner. This will lead to a healthy and safe pregnancy and baby.

About the Author:

Jenny Harrison is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. She loves to engage with readers who are seeking home and lifestyle-related information on the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community. Follow her on twitter @MJennyHarrison for more updates.

Hi I’m Marissa!

A mom of two little ones, here to provide some relatable experiences, tips, and tricks to the joys and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth through raising babies and toddlers.  Read more about me here.