photo by gr8phul1
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. There are many birth defects that can be prevented now. Education is the key. Women who are planning a pregnancy can take advantage of a preconception visit to their Gynecologist, Obstetrician or Primary Doctor.
Here’s a list of some of the things that women can do preconception to help keep themselves and their baby healthy:
- Have regular checkups while attempting to get pregnant
- If a woman has a chronic medical condition such as Diabetes, Lupus, etc. attempt to control the condition, learn what medications are safe to continue taking while attempting to conceive and while pregnant, and see your doctor right away if there are any complications
- Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and using illicit drugs
- Check if vitamins or herbal supplements are safe to continue to take
- Begin taking mulitivitamins including Folic Acid (please check with your doctor to get the correct dosage)
- Avoid dangerous environmental and occupational exposure
- Maintain a healthy diet
As soon as a woman learns that she is pregnant, seek prenatal care. Don’t wait! If this pregnancy wasn’t planned it is very important to get started on the mulitvitamins with folic acid and get a checkup.
Knowing that woman can help prevent some birth defects is a powerful tool in giving power to women during their pregnancy. Being educated on all aspects of the pregnancy may help women who have not maintained a healthy lifestyle do so now.
Please visit the March of Dimes website for more information on preconception and prenatal care.