What Is Known About Birth Defects and Prevention?

The pregnant woman who has an examination

Birth defects are health problems that occur during gestation as a baby is developing. In some cases, birth defects may be so severe that a baby may not fully develop in the womb or survive long after birth. Other birth defects may not be life-threatening, but they can lead to lifelong disabilities, which may be devastating for both children and their families. Therefore, it is important to understand the causes of major birth defects and possible methods of prevention. Research has offered insight to the causes of conditions like fetal alcohol syndrome and Down syndrome, but other birth defects still have unknown causes. Below is a look at some of the known facts about birth defect prevention that expecting moms should know.

Uncontrolled Diabetes Can Cause Birth Defects

Not only can diabetes have a negative effect on unborn babies, but it can be dangerous for pregnant moms as well. Women who have diabetes or those who develop gestational diabetes should work closely with their physicians to manage their blood sugar throughout pregnancy.

Increasing Folic Acid Intake Can Prevent Birth Defects

Folic acid is a B vitamin that promotes healthy cell development , and it is an essential nutrient for women even in the earliest stages of pregnancy. By consuming enough folic acid during pregnancy each day, expecting moms can significantly reduce the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects.

Fetal Alcohol Disorders Are among the Most Preventable Birth Defects

Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which are among the most heavily researched and preventable birth defects. Women trying to get pregnant should not drink any alcohol, since it may have effects early on in gestation. Cigarette smoking is another known cause of significant birth defects, so women should quit before conception if possible.

As you explore your options for prenatal care in San Jose, connect with Regional Medical Center to get to know our Birthing Center . You can schedule a tour of our birthing center online or by calling our Consult-A-Nurse healthcare referral line at (408) 259-4000. 

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