“January is birth defects prevention month and there are many things that women can do to ensure that we have a healthy baby.” DR. Erin Large is an OB/GYN at Washington Regional’s HerHealth Clinic. And she says that if possible, women should think about their diet even before they become pregnant.
“Prior to becoming pregnant, it’s important that women a prenatal vitamin or some type of a multivitamin specifically that contains Folic Acid. ” Folic Acis is a synthetic version of a B Vitamin that is B9 or Folate. ”
Folate can be found in many foods such as:
- Leafy Greens
- Citrus Fruits
- Brussels Sprouts
” We have learned that most women don’t consume enough Folate in our diet. So there’s a synthetic form that’s Folic Acid. If we take 400 micrograms of Folic Acid it’s been shown to decrease the risk for birth defects, specifically neural tube defects.”
“Folic Acid is really important in cell division and that’s the building block of what happens when a woman becomes pregnant. The cells divide and develop an embryo. However, there can be some abnormalities that happen as the spine is developing and it can be varying degrees. Whether it’s just an abnormality in the lower back in the formation of the spine pr it’s actually an abnormality when the brain is forming. So it’s important that we take Folic Acid to actually improve the way the brain and the spine are developed.”
“Annual appointments with your OB/GYN are important to really optimize your health and ensure that we have that reminder to take a prenatal vitamin and prevent birth defects for the things that are possible to prevent.”
“Another important thing is scheduling an appointment with your doctor for routine prenatal visits. Sometimes we can do ultrasounds to check the anatomy of the baby or also maybe lab work that can be important to evaluate your risk for a birth defect”
If you’d like to make an appointment for your annual gynecology visit or a prenatal visit to start your prenatal care, call Washington Regional’s HerHealth Clinic at 479-463-5500.