Giving birth is one of the occasions that many women look forward to. And one cannot guarantee births without defects. But one can work to lower the risk of birth defects. This can be achieved by adopting healthy behaviors and managing health conditions. These need to be adopted before and during the pregnancy period.
You can start making the changes even before you start trying to conceive. Like anything else, it will take commitment. And some time to get used to the changes. But once you set your mind to it, you can achieve it!
Avoid Harmful Substances
Here are some useful tips that would help lower the risk of birth defects.
One of the things that you should avoid is alcohol. The alcohol can easily pass onto the baby through the umbilical cord. There is no safe amount of alcohol that you could consume. Even a little bit would be enough to do the damage. All types of alcohol are prohibited during pregnancy.
If someone consumes alcohol during pregnancy, it can cause many issues. Some of the issues could be stillbirth, miscarriage, etc. It could also cause lifelong behavioral, intellectual, or physical issues for the child. This is often known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASDs.)
Smoking has many side-effects. But those side-effects also influence the baby if you smoke during pregnancy. It could result in preterm birth, infant death, and cleft palate. Even second-hand smoking or passive smoking could harm the pregnancy.
Many advocate how marijuana is natural and it is good for you. Whether you use recreational marijuana or use it regularly, it is a big no-no during pregnancy. There is no research that indicates a safe level of usage for pregnant ladies. So it is best that pregnant women should stay away. It is a good idea to stop using it if you are trying to conceive.
Change your Lifestyle
A healthy pregnancy can always lower the risk of birth defects. Here are the two main things that you have to take care of.
As a mother, it is important that you are not under or overweight. The BMI index allows a few kilos to wiggle around. But if you are someone who is overweight, try to reduce it. Being overweight increases the chances of birth defects and other complications.
Proper healthcare measures can help you avoid or lower the chances of birth defects. Even if you are not planning to get pregnant, being healthy would help your body. It would put less pressure on the heart. Thus, it prevents other health conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
Natural Personal Care Products
According to the Environment Working Group, chemicals in personal care products may cause defects. Studies have often linked prenatal exposure to phthalates. This is found in nail polish, fragrances, etc. Hair dyes also contain chemicals that caused birth defects in rats. Instead, you could use henna or other plant-based dye.
Diseases that can Hamper Pregnancy
Also, there are various health problems that can cause harm to the pregnancy. One always needs to look into those issues through regular health checkups.
Diabetes in pregnant ladies increases the chances of complications. If someone was diabetic before they got pregnant, then it increases the chances of birth defects. In some cases, pregnant women can develop diabetes during pregnancy also. The best way to avoid such complications is to maintain a healthy weight.
Did you know that iodine deficiency can increase the chances of birth defects? Iodine deficiency can cause neurocognitive development, fetal death, cretinism, etc. Although iodine is found in dairy products, iodized salt, fish, seaweed, many women still suffer from its deficiency. During pregnancy, the body’s need for iodine increases.
Take Folate (Vitamin B)
Taking folate is one of the easiest ways to prevent or at least lower the risk of birth defects. Different studies have shown that deficiency of vitamin B can increase the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). It is a group of serious birth defects that could turn fatal.
Natural Household Cleaners
A study was done by the New York State Department of Health in 2010. It found that women who held cleaning jobs while being pregnant had a higher rate of birth defects. It could be so because there is no way to find out the exact ingredients and their amount. The only way to protect your baby, in this case, would be to use mild cleansing ingredients, use a mask, and also pure essential oils.
Follow Healthy Pregnancy Routine
When you are pregnant, always be careful about what you eat or do. These tips have proven helpful in lowering the risk of birth defects. We are surrounded by harmful chemicals from all sides. But we do not know it. However, it is better to take precautions than be sorry later on. Make the changes as early on as you can. It will also give you enough time to adapt, so you are not under any kind of pressure.