5 Tips to Help Prevent Birth Defects

At South Coast Medical Group, we’ve seen our share of pregnancies. With over 19 years of experience helping our community with their health, we know a thing or two about childbirth and keeping pregnant women healthy. January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and this is a great time to discuss ways you can keep yourself and your baby healthy. The staff at South Coast Medical Group has some tips that expecting mothers, parents, and surrogates should follow to help prevent birth defects.

A Fine Spine with Folic Acid

If you are concerned about your baby’s brain and spine, you may want to consider taking Folic Acid. Folic acid is a great way to protect these areas of your growing baby. 400 micrograms (mcg) daily should be enough, but be sure to speak with your doctor. Brain and spinal birth defects happen in the early stages of pregnancies, so it’s important to begin taking folic acid one month before a planned pregnancy. Folic acid is a common ingredient in many multivitamins so be sure to read the label on any you take. Certain foods also have folic acid in them or are labeled as being “fortified” with folic acid.

Doctor, Doctor Give Me The News!

The best way to make sure you have a healthy baby is to stay in contact with your doctor and get check-ups on a regular basis. Meeting with a doctor before you plan to get pregnant is a great idea. Any possible complications, lingering issues, or other health concerns can be discussed. Also, any lab work can be done to make sure that blood work is normal.

“Doctors can work with patients to discuss a treatment plan weeks in advance of a pregnancy and even in the early stages of the pregnancy,” said Dr. John Cheng, M.D. “There really isn’t any reason not to speak to a doctor before and during your pregnancy.”

Safe Vaccines for Safe Pregnancies

Here’s the truth: vaccines protect your body. End of story. Anything you read online claiming vaccines are dangerous is completely false. In fact, vaccines are the best thing for your child’s health as well as your own. The flu shot and whooping cough vaccine go a long way during your pregnancy to keep both the mother and baby safe. Speak with your doctor to see if there are any other vaccines you may need.

A Better Body, A Better Baby

Americans are getting fatter, and the American Diet is to blame. More and more people are outright obese. Even worse, obesity raises the risk of many serious birth defects. Of course, the opposite is true too, and being underweight can put the baby at risk. To prevent this, it’s important that mothers and surrogates reach a healthy weight. Speak to your doctor about an exercise routine and diet that is right for you.

Just Say No

If you want a healthy baby, you’re going to need to cut out all of the unhealthy stuff. That includes alcohol, tobacco, and even recreational drugs. While one glass of wine might not make you tipsy and one cigarette might seem harmless, they really aren’t safe in any amount for pregnant women. Cutting these out won’t just be helping your baby, you’ll be helping yourself as you begin the long road of motherhood.

We all wish that there was a single magic pill, diet, procedure, or treatment that could prevent all birth defects. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t exist, at least not yet. By following these tips, you will put yourself in the best condition possible to make sure your pregnancy is a healthy one. If you want a family doctor at a clinic with over 19 years of helping pregnant women give birth to healthy children, then South Coast Medical Group should be your number one choice. We’re ready to help make sure that your pregnancy is healthy, happy, and absolutely goes according to plan. Contact us so you can come in for a check-up before your pregnancy.   South Coast Medical Group has been serving the Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Beach and Lake Forest communities for almost 20 years.