(HealthDay News) -- While the cause of many birth defects remains a mystery, doctors do understand what causes many others -- and how to prevent them.
The Minnesota Department of Health says before and during pregnancy, you should:
- Eat foods with a high folate content, or foods enriched with folic acid. A folic acid deficiency can lead to a type of birth defect called a neural tube defect. To prevent this, good dietary choices are green leafy veggies, dried beans, oranges and orange juice, and fortified breads, pastas and cereals.
- Before pregnancy and while you're pregnant, take a daily multivitamin that includes at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
- See your doctor for a checkup before you are pregnant, and get regular pre-natal care throughout your pregnancy.
- Stop drinking alcohol while you're trying to conceive, and never drink alcohol during pregnancy.
- Make sure the medicines you take are safe during pregnancy. Check with your doctor.
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