By Jenny Silverstone
Living in a modern environment, we are surrounded by things which slightly increase our risk of having a baby with birth defects. This means that we need to be much more careful about what we do or don’t do, so that we can reduce our risk.
No matter whether you are at high risk of birth defects because of a genetic condition, or at low risk in general, it is always worth the effort to make sure we are doing everything in our power to help our babies.
In celebration of National Birth Defect Awareness month, here are a few of the most vital ways in which we can help prevent birth defects – as many of them are completely within our control.
1. Watch Your Meds!
Many medications that are perfectly safe before pregnancy are very, very dangerous to your baby as soon as you become pregnant. If you are trying to conceive or have discovered that you are pregnant, you need to talk to your doctor ASAP about revising your medicines. If you have to stop taking a medication, consider using natural remedies that are safe when pregnant, such as herbal supplements, acupuncture, or moxibustion.
2. Quit Alcohol, Smoking, And Drugs
It has been proven that all drugs, including alcohol and cigarettes, increase your risk of having a child with birth defects. However, we understand that breaking an addiction can be very difficult. If you are trying to conceive, you want to break your addiction before getting pregnant. If you are already pregnant, you want to break your addiction quickly. Meditation, acupuncture, or herbal remedies could help you focus and stay calm when breaking the addiction.
3. Eat A Natural Diet
A natural diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole energy sources like grains and legumes, and Vitamin-B containing foods is one of the best ways of making sure you are getting all the nourishment you need to feed your growing baby. If you have a hard time eating the whole range of fruits and vegetables you need, consider using pregnancy-safe supplements or prenatal vitamins, which can boost your nutrients and give you enough folic acid to help prevent specific birth defects.
4. Exercise And Relax
Stress can elevate your blood pressure which can increase the risk of birth defects. Stress also makes you more likely to stress eat, take drugs, or go to hot places like saunas, all of which increase the risk of birth defects. Exercising, sleeping well, and meditation for relaxation can all reduce stress. If you find that exercise leaves you tense, or that pain stops you from relaxing, consider acupuncture for some relief.
5. Control Diabetes And Weight
If you are already diabetic or develop gestational diabetes, your baby’s risk of birth defects go up. Likewise, whether you are already overweight or you gain too much weight during pregnancy. Just like with quitting drugs, if you find it difficult to control your diet and weight, consider using supplements, meditation, and acupuncture to help you regain calm and focus.