Sunday, January 24, 2010

January Is Birth Defects Awareness Month: Celebrate By Preventing Them

It’s a shame when a life so precious ends too soon. What’s the leading cause? Birth defects. Unfortunately, about 120,000 babies are born with some type of abnormality each year, which has made it the leading cause of death in the first year of life. It goes without saying that we need to do everything we can to keep these precious little ones alive and healthy. Since January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, I thought it would be helpful to share a few ways you can prevent birth defects.

Keep yourself healthy from the start

If you’re planning to have children, schedule an appointment with your doctor to assess your risk factors. If there are any, like high blood pressure or diabetes, address them immediately. Sure, you may have to stop smoking or make some other lifestyle changes, but the healthier you are during preconception, the healthier your baby will be.

Take one for the baby

While most women start prenatal vitamins when they first realize that they are expecting, it’s also a great idea to begin taking a multivitamin before you get pregnant. Because the baby’s neural tube begins developing early, damage could be done even before you realize you’re pregnant. So be sure to include a multivitamin that’s rich in B-vitamin folic acid (at least 400 micrograms) to help the baby’s brain and the spinal cord develop normally.

Taking care of baby after delivery

Taking these precautions can help make sure that your baby develops normally while inside the womb and is ready to greet the great big world outside. After making his grand entrance, you can keep baby safe and warm with a cozy layette set–especially one that’s fresh from the farm. He’ll be as cozy as a pig in a blanket while wearing the animal-themed baby clothes in this unique baby gift. Then you can lull him off to sleep for a good night’s rest–or at least until the next mealtime.

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