Although February is more commonly known for Valentine’s Day, this month also marks International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month which aims to raise awareness of how to prevent mothers and babies from contracting infectious diseases. Prevention is always the best practice, so having some initial awareness goes a long way.
Before becoming pregnant, it’s important to know how it affects your heart and circulatory system. While most women will not experience any heart-related problems during pregnancy, sometimes the extra demand placed on the heart can be too much. This is particularly true for women who have pre-existing heart conditions or those at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
These days, there are so many birth control options to choose from that it can feel confusing at best to choose a method that’s right for you. While your friends might swear by one method, you might find yourself more suited to an alternative. If you are using birth control, it’s worth taking a moment to decide if it’s really the right method for you, or if it might be worth trying a new form of birth control.
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and this year’s theme is “Best for You Best for Baby”. While it’s important to understand that not all birth defects can be prevented, there are ways to improve your chances of having a healthy baby by making sure you are your healthiest self both before and during pregnancy.
By doing what is best for your health, you’ll also be doing what’s best for your baby.
What are birth defects?
A birth defect is defined as a health condition that is present at the time of birth. Usually developing in the first three months when a baby’s organs are forming, they can have a serious impact on a baby’s health and how their body develops. A few examples of birth defects are cleft lip, cleft palate, congenital heart defects, and spina bifida.
In the U.S alone, about 1 in 33 babies are born with a defect each year, according to the CDC.
Genetic, social, and environmental factors all play a big part in a baby’s health, and not all birth defects can be prevented. However, there are certain things that women can do to increase the possibility of a healthy full-term pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Here are five tips to follow to help make sure you’re at your best during pregnancy:
1. See your healthcare provider
It’s always a good idea to pop in for a check-up before pregnancy begins. You can ask any questions you might have, as well as ease any anxieties around your health and pregnancy.
Ideally, all women who are pregnant, might be pregnant, or are breastfeeding during flu season should receive the inactivated flu vaccine, regardless of their stage of pregnancy. The flu shot is an essential part of prenatal care because pregnant women are at an increased risk of serious illness and even mortality due to influenza.