Not all birth defects can be prevented, but you can take some actions that increase your chance of having a healthy baby. The tips below can help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Plan your pregnancy
Most birth defects occur very early in pregnancy, sometimes before you know that you are pregnant. About half of all pregnancies in the United States are not planned.
- See your health care provider before you become pregnant.
- Control any medical condition (obesity, diabetes, seizures, etc.) before getting pregnant.
- Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy.
Take care of yourself
- Get plenty of rest.
- Exercise moderately.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid contact with chemicals and other things in the home and workplace that may harm an unborn baby.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs.
- Talk with your health care provider before taking any over-the-counter drugs.
If you are planning to get pregnant or you are already pregnant, one of the most important things you can do is see your health care provider. Prenatal (before birth) care can help find some problems early in pregnancy so that they can be monitored or treated before birth. Some problems might be avoided with prenatal care.
Read more about Preventing Birth Defects
Check out CDC's What You Should Know Pregnancy tips and planning information.
This symbol means you are leaving the CDC.gov Web site. For more information, please see CDC's Exit Notification and Disclaimer policy.
Copyrighted images: Images on this website which are copyrighted were used with permission of the copyright holder and are not in the public domain. CDC has licensed these images for use in the materials provided on this website, and the materials in the form presented on this website may be used without seeking further permission. Any other use of copyrighted images requires permission from the copyright holder.
Tracking Hot Topics
- Consumer's Guide to Radon Reduction
- EPA's Map of Radon Zones
- 28 Days to a Healthier Heart
- Go Red for Women — How to Prevent Heart Disease
- Heart Health and Air Pollution Toolkit
- What You Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease
- Tracking Fellowship Milestone
- View our Tracking Success Stories to learn how Tracking is making a difference across the U.S.