Parents expecting a child will always seek a healthy baby. Expectant parents always try their best to avoid circumstances that would cause birth defects in children. Although the lifestyle of the parents might sometimes be responsible for producing birth defects in children, the exact causes of all forms of birth defects are not yet known. Genetics and environmental factors are usually associated with birth defects. It is believed that by modifying your lifestyle during pregnancy, risk of birth defects could be reduced significantly.
Diseases and birth defects
Infections during pregnancy increase the risk of birth defects in children. If during pregnancy or before conception, the mother contracts genital herpes infection the risk of cerebral palsy, brain damage, vision and hearing impairment increases in the child. The highest risk of birth defect arises from congenital rubella infection. If the mother suffers from toxoplasmosis, congenital varicella syndrome developing from chickenpox and fifth disease, the infant may be born with several incurable birth defects. To prevent birth defects, mothers should avoid infections during pregnancy. If you are planning pregnancy, you should visit your physician for a thorough health check up. If you have contracted any sexually transmitted disease before pregnancy, make sure that the disease is completely cured before conception. By maintaining proper hygiene, you could avoid several infections. Washing your hands properly with soap and water, avoiding contact with litter boxes, dirt and raw meat could prevent germs from entering your body.
If the mother suffers from folic acid deficiency, the infant might suffer from defects of the brain and spine, also known as neural tube defects. Neural tube defects usually develop during the first month of pregnancy. To prevent this birth defect, you should not suffer from folic acid deficiency during the time of conception. It is advisable for every woman of childbearing age to consume about 400 micrograms of folic acid per day.
Smoking and alcohol
Smoking, substance abuse and alcohol intake increase the risk of birth defects. Second hand smoking or passive smoking is also harmful for the health of the growing fetus. Presence of even a little amount of alcohol in the mother’s blood could be harmful for the fetus. Substance abuse and use of illegal drugs also increases the risk of birth defects.