The theme of this year’s National Birth Defects Prevention Month is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent infections for baby’s protection.”
According to The National Birth Defects Prevention Network, “We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, we also know that women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by reducing their risk of getting an infection during pregnancy. Please encourage all pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to:
- Properly prepare food.
o Wash your hands before and after preparing food.
o Do not eat raw or runny eggs or raw sprouts.
o Avoid unpasteurized (raw) milk and cheese, and other foods made from them.
- Talk to your healthcare provider.
o Talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to prevent infections such as Zika virus.
o Make sure that you are up-to-date with vaccinations (shots) before getting pregnant.
o Talk to your healthcare provider about vaccinations that you should receive during pregnancy.
- Protect yourself from animals and insects known to carry diseases such as Zika virus.
o Stay away from wild or pet rodents, live poultry, lizards and turtles, and do not clean cat litter boxes while pregnant.
o When mosquitoes and ticks are active, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside.
o Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus (para-menthane-3,8-diol).
- Maintain good hygiene.
o Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially:
o Before preparing or eating foods,
o After handling raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables,
o After being around or touching pets and other animals,
o After changing diapers or wiping runny noses.
o Do not put a young child’s food, utensils, drinking cups, or pacifiers in your mouth.
For more information, visit www.nbdpn.org.