Birth Defects, such as cleft lip, spina bifida or Down syndrome in the United States every year. Not all birth defects are preventable but by reducing the risk of infection while pregnant, women can greatly increase their chances of having healthy babies.
Here are some important tips for women who are pregnant or planning to be pregnant provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Get up-to-date on vaccines such as the flu shot and whooping cough vaccine.
- Avoid insect bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts while outdoors, using insect repellent and avoiding trips to areas with the Zika virus if possible.
- Always thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.
- Take a daily multivitamin with at least 400 mcg of folic acid before and during pregnancy.
- Adopt a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Prevent sexually transmitted diseases by using appropriate protection.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
Whether you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or know someone who is, take the time to educate yourself and others on the prevention of birth defects and encourage a healthy lifestyle.