Whether you are an expecting parent or planning a pregnancy, ensuring your future child’s health should be your top priority. The choices you make during your pregnancy can significantly impact the health of the baby and may even result in birth defects. This makes it all the more important to make sure that those choices are healthy ones.

That said, it’s important to note that not all birth defects are preventable. Some of them may not even be immediately apparent. Still, a mother-to-be should do her best to adopt healthy behaviors not only during pregnancy but also prior to conception. With that in mind, here are five health tips you need to follow to reduce the risk of birth defects.

Make regular visits to the doctor your top priority

One of the first things you want to do before starting a family is to visit your healthcare provider regularly. A doctor can be of invaluable help in the process of identifying the risk of birth defects. This is especially true when it comes to women with diabetes and other preexisting health conditions planning a pregnancy. 

Making regular visits to the doctor a top priority is important for maintaining good health and preventing potential health issues. Regular check-ups can help detect and prevent illnesses, monitor chronic conditions, and ensure that any vaccinations or screenings needed are up to date.

It’s recommended to schedule regular visits with a primary care doctor, who can provide general healthcare and refer you to specialists as needed. It’s also important to keep track of your own health and to report any symptoms or changes to your doctor during your visit.

Studies suggest that these women may be at a higher risk of giving birth to a baby with birth defects. By prioritizing regular visits to your doctor, you can manage your and your baby’s health more effectively during your pregnancy.

If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may need to see your doctor more frequently. In addition, regular check-ups with your gynecologist or OB-GYN, dentist, and eye doctor, are also important to maintain overall health.

Take preventative steps to protect your child’s future health

Prevention is better than cure, and this is especially true when it comes to pregnancy. Expectant mothers should do everything in their power to prevent bad things from occurring to their children. Oftentimes, this will mean putting trust in a cord blood bank to protect their child’s future health. A potentially life-saving method, cord blood banking involves the collection, storage, and preservation of stem cells derived from the umbilical cord after birth. 

Taking preventative steps to protect your child’s future health is an important aspect of parenting. Here are a few ways to do so:

  1. Encourage healthy habits: Teach your child healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and alcohol.

  2. Provide regular medical care: Make sure your child receives regular medical check-ups and vaccinations to prevent illnesses and detect any potential health issues early on.

  3. Monitor development: Keep an eye on your child’s development and address any concerns with your pediatrician.

  4. Support mental health: Encourage open communication and provide support for your child’s emotional well-being.

  5. Safety first: Make sure your child is safe at home, at school, and while playing.

  6. Encourage healthy sleep habits: Make sure your child gets enough sleep and develops good sleep hygiene habits.

  7. Teach them the importance of hygiene: Teach your child the importance of good hygiene habits, such as regular hand washing and brushing teeth.

  8. Consider your environment: Consider the environment your child lives and plays in, and if necessary, make changes to promote a healthy environment.

That way, in case the need for stem cell treatment arises, the family who saves them can use the stem cells to treat various illnesses while protecting their children into adolescence and even potentially into adulthood.

By taking preventative steps, you can help protect your child’s health and set them up for a healthy future.

Reach a healthy weight before trying to conceive

Maintaining a healthy weight is not the only key to adding years to your life and ensuring overall health and well-being. It is also an important factor that can largely influence your future child’s health. Weighing less than what’s recommended according to your height can lead to premature birth and other complications. 

Being overweight or obese can also lead to pregnancy complications and increase the risk of the development of birth defects. Consult with your doctor about ways to reach a healthy weight, and do so long before trying to conceive. That way, you’ll escape the risks that come with going on a diet and losing weight while pregnant.

Focus on improving your health before becoming pregnant

Other than your weight, you should also pay attention to your overall health and well-being and make some improvements. Consuming harmful substances such as tobacco, alcohol, and narcotics is not only harmful to the mother’s health but can also contribute to an increased risk of birth defects.

These defects include everything from congenital disabilities and intestinal defects (e.g. gastroschisis) to heart and kidney defects and growth problems. Continuous use of substances during pregnancy also increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth, miscarriage, and sudden infant death syndrome. 

Aside from breaking bad habits, mothers-to-be should also pay attention to the food they consume. Focus on eating nourishing, vitamin-rich foods and exercise on a regular basis. You should also consider adding prenatal supplements such as folic acid to your diet to prepare your body for pregnancy. Ideally, you’ll start taking 400 mcg of folic acid one month prior to conception and continue taking it throughout pregnancy.

Make sure you stay up to date with vaccines

Last but not least, staying up to date with vaccinations is essential for preserving your and your unborn baby’s health.

Vaccines provide the protection you and your baby need from serious diseases. Contracting certain infections and diseases such as rubella and chickenpox during pregnancy can have detrimental effects on your baby’s health. The former may cause developmental problems and poor fetal growth. The latter may lead to limb defects, intellectual disabilities, and, in some cases, miscarriage

Keep in mind that administering certain vaccines such as the MMR vaccine is not safe during pregnancy. Therefore, it’d be best that you get necessary shots like these before getting pregnant. Then, you should stay up to date with all other vaccines such as Tdap and a flu shot during pregnancy.

Wrapping up

Although birth defects are common, there are ways for mothers-to-be to reduce the risks and ensure a healthy, safe pregnancy. With these five health tips in mind, you can rest assured that you’re doing what’s best for your little one.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].