Health Services

Preventing Birth Defects: A Guide for Parents


The birth of a child is one of life’s most beautiful moments. Unfortunately, birth defects can occur and affect the child and their family forever. It’s estimated that 1 out of every 33 babies born in the United States will have some sort of birth defect. While the exact cause of birth defects isn’t always known, there are steps parents can take to help prevent it.

Firstly, women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should make sure they are up to date on all their vaccines. Certain infections during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of birth defects. Secondly, avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and drugs, including prescription medications not prescribed by a doctor, is crucial. These substances have been linked to a variety of birth defects.

Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regimen can also help reduce the chances of birth defects. Pregnant women should take folic acid supplements, which can reduce the risk of neural tube defects by up to 70%. Additionally, avoiding exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation can help reduce the chance of birth defects.

Lastly, parents can seek genetic counseling if they have a family history of birth defects. They can learn about any potential risks and receive guidance on how to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

While there is no guaranteed way to prevent birth defects, parents can take steps to reduce the chances of it happening. Taking care of oneself and seeking medical advice can help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.