Health Tip: Help Prevent Birth Defects

Steps you can take before and during pregnancy

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(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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