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One of the most important aspects of starting a family is being aware of the everyday risks that you pose to your unborn child. Carrying a child is a delicate procedure and certain lifestyle and health changes must be made to ensure the proper development and health of the baby. Cerebral palsy is a condition that is diagnosed in 1 out of every 500 babies, and certain measures can be taken to prevent cerebral palsy.
Although it may seem obvious to most people, smoking cigarettes is not conducive to birthing a healthy child. With all the warnings on cigarette packs, let alone the knowledge that smoking in general is detrimental to anyone's health, pregnant women still smoke. Regardless of the "stress" in your life, it's not about you; it's about the baby. Take a nine-month break from smoking and you can prevent cerebral palsy in your child. Studies show that women who do not smoke during pregnancy have healthier babies. The same is evident with alcohol and illegal drugs. Drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs during pregnancy may cause birth defects like cerebral palsy.
Always take precautions to prevent cerebral palsy if you have any long-term illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid problems, or take prescription medications for another illness. Your doctor can help you plan what you need to do to prevent cerebral palsy for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Folic acid is a vitamin of major importance to a women preparing for pregnancy. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent cerebral palsy and other major birth defects of her baby's brain and spine. These birth defects are called neural tube defects (NTDs). Women need to take folic acid every day prior to attempting conception to help prevent NTDs. Women who are planning to become pregnant or who already are pregnant should take daily vitamin supplements containing 400 micrograms of folic acid.
A rubella or German measles vaccination is also an important step to prevent cerebral palsy. Having rubella during pregnancy can cause a variety of serious birth defects. If you have had rubella or been vaccinated against it, you are protected from becoming infected again. Make sure you are immunized at least 4 weeks before trying to conceive in order to prevent cerebral palsy. A test can be performed to see whether or not you need the vaccine.
Simple measures to prevent cerebral palsy are mostly common sense. Get treatment for all infections as soon as possible and if you develop signs of an infection during pregnancy, such as fever or unusual vaginal discharge, call your doctor immediately. Try and avoid people who are sick and be cautious around those with illnesses such as rubella that increase a fetus's risk of developing cerebral palsy. Avoid exposure to harmful substances, such as radiation and asbestos.
Diet is also a plays a very important role when preventing cerebral palsy. Most health professionals suggest a balanced diet and taking vitamin supplements that contain all the needed vitamins and minerals (including folic acid) during pregnancy.
A highly dedicated woman is needed in order to prevent cerebral palsy. By doing all you can on your part to prevent cerebral palsy, you will be rewarded with a healthy baby. If you have any questions regarding other ways to prevent cerebral palsy in your particular case, speak with your pre-natal healthcare provider.