Preventing Birth Defects

Suzanne Murray
newborn baby

Photo by PrettyinLace

A healthy baby is a beautiful thing

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Here's the scary news: 1 in 33 babies is born with a birth defect, and 1 out of every 5 born with one of those defects dies as a result (birth defects are the leading cause of death among newborns). Here's the good news: The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NPDPN) says that many common birth defects can be prevented if you take these precautions during your pregnancy:

1. Don't smoke

2. Don't drink alcohol

3. Exercise

4. Eat healthfully

5. If you have a medical condition, keep your course of treatment on track (follow your doctor's advice)

6. Take a folic acid supplement

7. Be extra careful about germs so you don't get sick—wash your hands frequently

8. Stay away from strong chemicals and toxins at home and at work

9. Cut back on caffeine

For more information on birth defects and keeping your pregnancy healthy, visit the NPDPN, the March of Dimes, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are you taking any of these precautions to help prevent birth defects? Which is the most difficult for you?

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