Aim for a healthy pregnancy
One in every 33 babies in the U.S. is born with a birth defect.
January is Birth Defects Prevention month and the Louisiana Birth Defects Monitoring Network (LBDMN) is working to find the causes of birth defects.
According LBDMN, while the causes of most birth defects are unknown, a woman can increase her chance of having a healthy baby. Many birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. About half of all pregnancies are unplanned.
Hospital costs for treatment of birth defect-related conditions exceed $2.5 billion annually. In Louisiana, birth defects are a leading cause of infant mortality – roughly 20 percent of infant deaths each year are due to birth defects.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking the following steps for a healthy pregnancy:
• Take a multivitamin that has 400 mcg of folic acid in it every day.
• Have regular medical check-ups.
• Talk to her health care provider about any medical problems and medicine use – both over-the-counter and prescription. Ask about avoiding any substances at work or at home that might be harmful to a developing baby.
• Keep vaccinations and shots up-to-date.
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet.
• Avoid eating raw or undercooked meat.
• Avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
• Get early prenatal care and go to every appointment.
• Avoid using hot tubs and saunas.
• Have x-rays done only if necessary.
Every child deserves to be born with the best health possible. For more information, visit LBDMN’s website at http://wwwprd.doa.louisiana.gov/laservices.
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