How Expectant Mothers Can Prevent Birth Defects

July 14, 2012

Prenatal Vitamins

How Expectant Mothers Can Prevent Birth Defects

 

Mothers Can Prevent Birth Defects

Mothers Can Prevent Birth Defects

During pregnancy, a baby can develop certain problems while in the womb. These problems are abnormalities that affect the way that the baby develops mentally or physically. These abnormalities of form or function are known as birth defects. Because there are thousands of these defects, it isn’t always possible to prevent them or know what causes some of them.

Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and obesity are some of the causes of these types of defects. Not getting adequate amounts of folic acid may also result in a baby having defects that could have been prevented. Fortunately, there are steps that mothers-to-be can take to prevent defects from occurring:

Take Folic Acid At least one month prior to pregnancy, women should begin taking B9, which is more commonly known as folic acid. This water soluble B vitamin is critical in preventing neural tube defects (NTDs) such as spina bifida. NTDs are disorders in which the neural tube fails to form and close completely. The neural tube is a part of the embryo that will eventually form into the baby’s spinal cord, spinal column, and brain. Before pregnancy, women should take 400 mcg of folic acid. While pregnant the dosage may increase to up to 600 mcg.

Lose Weight Women who carry excess body weight run an increased risk of giving birth to babies with spina bifida or defects of the heart or brain. Before attempting to get pregnant, women who are overweight should consult with their doctors about how it will affect the development of a baby. In addition, the doctor will be able to assist her in starting a weight loss plan to help her lose weight.

Avoid Drugs, Alcohol, and Cigarettes Using illegal street drugs, drinking alcohol, or smoking can lead to defects of the developing embryo. Illegal drug use may result in defects of the heart, limbs, or urinary tract. Babies of women who smoke while pregnant may be born with cleft palates or a cleft lip. Women who drink alcohol are putting their baby at risk for a condition called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

This results in defects that are one hundred percent avoidable. Birth disorders associated with FASD are called Alcohol-Related Birth Defects (ARBD). Defects include kidney, bone, hearing and heart problems. Other problems that stem from the use of alcohol include intellectual problems, abnormal facial appearance, problems with their central nervous system, and stunted growth in and out of the womb.

Although it is not always possible to prevent a baby from developing defects in the womb, expectant mothers will want to take every step to prevent the possibility. The best action that any woman can take is to see her doctor regularly and lead a healthy lifestyle for herself and her unborn child.

How Expectant Mothers Can Prevent Birth Defects


This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
Birth Defects, pregnancy

Comments are closed.