It is not possible to prevent all birth defects. However, there are steps that mothers-to-be can take to increase their chances of having a healthy baby. They include:
- Taking 400 mcg of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant.
- Not smoking, drinking or using illicit drugs.
- Talking to a health care provider about any prescriptions or over-the-counter medications the woman may be using, including dietary or herbal supplements.
- Learning how to prevent infections during pregnancy.
- Making sure medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity, are under control before becoming pregnant.