Health experts share recommendations to reduce chances of birth defects

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

According to the CDC, birth defects happen in about 3 to 4 percent of pregnancies.

Experts say not all birth defects can be prevented but there are things pregnant women can do to increase the chances of having a healthy baby.

The CDC recommends taking a multivitamin before and during pregnancy, along with getting enough folic acid to decrease the chances of birth defects.

It’s also important to have a healthy diet, exercise, and stay away from drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol.

And one expert says a good relationship with medical providers makes a difference.

“We can prevent them, a lot of them before they happen, but that does mean a partnership between the provider, whether it be a midwife or doctor, and the family,” said Dennis Costakos, M.D., Neonatologist at Mayo Clinic Health System.

Women who plan to get pregnant should start taking these measures a few months beforehand, according to health experts.