Pregnancy is a happy time for any woman wishing to start a family. However, pregnancy can also come with some health risks for both mother and baby. While birth defects are pretty rare in the developed world, they do happen. Some of these defects are caused by genetics and are unpreventable while others are caused by outside sources that can be avoided or controlled.
Anyone can have a child with birth defects but certain factors make that risk more likely. Below are some of the top causes of birth defects:
1) Age. Both being too young and too old to have a healthy pregnancy are risks for birth defects. Under the age of 18 and over the age of 35 are considered risky ages for childbearing.
2)General health. Certain pre-existing health issues can leave you more at risk to have a baby with birth defects.
3) Illicit drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. If you drink, smoke or do drugs before or during your pregnancy, the baby is at risk of being born with defects.
4) Exposure to chemicals. If you are exposed to certain chemicals while pregnant, this can cause birth defects as well. This could be chemicals you work with, cleaning supplies you use at home or cosmetics you use. Make sure to read labels before using any chemical-based products but it’s best to limit your exposure even if there’s no warning.
5)Diet. Certain vitamins are vital to the development of fetuses and if you are lacking in one or more of these you’re at risk of having a baby with one or more birth defects. Eating more natural foods and avoiding junk food helps and so does taking a prenatal vitamin.
6)Drugs. While illicit drugs, including softer drugs like marijuana, are always dangerous to an unborn baby, there are certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are best avoided if you’re pregnant. Your doctor can tell you about any prescription medications you’re on and it will say on the label if an over-the-counter drug should be avoided.
7) Strenuous Activity. If you participate in strenuous activity, especially activity that requires heavy lifting, this increases your risk of having a baby with birth defects.
As you can see, there are many things that can contribute to top causes of birth defects but there are also many ways to reduce the risks by minimizing or stopping exposure to the things that make it more likely.