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National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Birth defects can happen for many reasons. Although not all birth defects can be prevented, people can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant. Here are some steps you can take to get ready for pregnancy, stay healthy during pregnancy, and give your baby a healthy start in life:

-Get 400 micrograms (mgc) of folic acid every day. Folic acid is a B vitamin. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body at least 1 month before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of the developing baby's brain and spine (anencephaly and spina bifida). Women can get folic acid from fortified food or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a varied diet rich in folate.

-Prevent Infections. Some infections that a women may get during pregnancy can be harmful to the developing baby and can even cause birth defects. Stay up to date with your vaccinations, wash your hands regularly, avoid others that you know are sick

-See a Healthcare Professional Regularly. Be sure to see a doctor when planning a pregnancy and start prenatal care as soon as possible. It is importatn to see your physician throughout your pregnancy. Keep all prenatal apppointments, talk to your doctors about any medications you are taking, and talk to your doctors about vaccinations. Some vaccinations (flu, tDAP, diphtheria and acellular pretussis vaccine) are specifically recommened during pregnancy. 

-Keep diabetes under control. Unmanaged diabetes can increase your risk for birth defects and other problems during pregnancy.

-Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and other drugs. Alcohol during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of disabilities. Smoking can cause preterm birth, birth defects, and infant death. Marijuana is linked to lower birth weight in infants. 

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Telehealth: The Advantages of Telemedicine

Struggles to get to the clinic? Trying to reduce your exposure to COVID-19, as well as other contagious illnesses, and still need to see your doctor? Telehealth is safe and easy — receive quality care from anywhere.