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5 Things You Can Do to Have a Healthy Baby in the New Year

Did you know that every 4 ½ minutes a baby in the United States is born with a major birth defect? January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, a time to raise awareness about birth defects and of the steps that can be taken to prevent them. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are things you can do to get ready for a healthy pregnancy.

  • In addition to eating a healthy diet, be sure to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before and during early pregnancy.
  • See a health care professional regularly. Talk to them about taking any medicine, including prescription and over-the counter medicines and dietary or herbal supplements, and take only what is needed. Talk to your health care provider before starting or stopping any medication.
  • Work to get health conditions, like diabetes, in control before becoming pregnant, and keep them in good control during pregnancy.
  • Try to reach and maintain a healthy weight before becoming pregnant.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco during pregnancy.

Managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant is important, because many birth defects happen very early during pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Take care of yourself today for a healthy baby tomorrow.

Find more information about birth defects and educational and promotional materials for National Birth Defects Prevention Month.