5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of Birth Defects
The nine months during pregnancy is the main time period in which many factors can affect a baby for his/her entire life. As more research is being done, results are finding that what a woman does before becoming pregnant can affect a baby during pregnancy as well. This is even more crucial when it comes to reducing the risk of birth defects.
For this reason, taking preventative birth defect measures before conceiving is a critical aspect of a healthy pregnancy. The healthier you are before conceiving, the higher your chances are of giving birth to a healthy, defect-free child.
With the list of different types of birth defects increasing, various aspects of your everyday life may have an influence on your baby, even before you become pregnant. If you are planning to conceive, here are some life choices to consider:
Regular Doctor Visits
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Regular doctor visits are key to monitoring the pregnancy process in order to have a complication-free birthing process and a healthy baby. This does not mean that it is okay to skip your usual doctor visits if you are not pregnant.
A woman should visit her general physician once a year, getting bloodwork done, taking any needed shots and going through a normal check-up routine. Similarly, a woman should visit her gynecologist at least yearly for a check-up as well as screenings.
These regular exams can uncover asymptomatic problems that can great effect your health and possibly even fertility.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
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Every woman can expect to gain weight during pregnancy. For this and many other reasons, it is important to maintain a healthy weight when trying to conceive.
Obesity can reduce your chances of fertility. Women who has a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or higher, may have trouble conceiving due to excessive fat tissue and a hormone imbalance. This is especially true for women in the 30 or higher category, as well as for those who are 30 years or older.
Luckily, this is not the most serious matter and it is not permanent. Taking control of you weight now can make all the difference when try to conceive down the road.
Don’t Do Drugs
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Hopefully you’re completely skipping over this section because you’re smart enough to know that drugs are probably the worst thing that you can do to your body.
If considering your own health isn’t enough, think about your children. If you have a family in your future plans, now is the time to stop the use of all recreational drugs. They’re horrible for you and even worse for your baby.
Stop Smoking and Drinking
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Stopping the smoking of cigarettes during pregnancy is sometimes not enough. Being a constant smoker prior to becoming pregnant can do just as much damage to you baby, if not more.
With more studies coming out about the harm of second-hand smoke, it is not surprising that it plays a role in infertility.
Alcohol is a huge no no during pregnancy and should also be reduced when trying to conceive. This goes for both you and your partner.
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Maintain a well-balanced and nutritional diet. Make sure to hit on all five of the major food groups, including plenty of fruits and vegetables. Did you know that certain foods can boost fertility? Do your research to develop a fertility diet that is right for you.
In addition to your diet, you should be taking a multivitamin daily. It should include at least 400 mcg of folic acid, a B vitamin that plays an important role in the production of red blood cells.