Story Ideas - 2015
Preventing Birth Defects
About one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect in the United States each year. Birth defects are serious conditions that can affect almost any part of the body, such as the heart, brain, spine, or foot. A birth defect can be found before birth, at birth, or any time after birth. Most birth defects are found within the first year of life. Not all birth defects can be prevented. But, there are things that a woman can do before and during pregnancy to increase her chances of having a healthy baby.
If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, see your healthcare provider. Seeing your healthcare provider before you get pregnant can help you have a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal care, which is health care received during pregnancy, can help find some problems early in pregnancy so they can be monitored or treated before birth. There are other steps a woman can take to increase her chances of having a healthy baby:
- Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant.
- Don’t drink alcohol, smoke or use “street” drugs.
- Talk to a healthcare provider about taking any medications, including prescription and over-the-counter medications and dietary and herbal supplements. Also talk to a doctor before stopping any medications that are needed to treat health conditions.
- Learn how to prevent infections during pregnancy.
- If possible, be sure any medical conditions are under control, before becoming pregnant. Some conditions that increase the risk for birth defects include diabetes and obesity.
For more information, see related links:
- Folic Acid
- Preconception Health and Healthcare
- Diagnosing Birth Defects
- More Tips to Prevent Birth Defects
- Causes and Risk Factors
Living with HIV
Today, an estimated 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the United States. Thanks to better treatments, people with HIV are now living longer—and with a better quality of life—than ever before. If you are living with HIV, it's important to make choices that keep you healthy and protect others.
It's very important for you to take your HIV medicines exactly as directed. Not taking medications correctly may lower the level of immune system defenders called CD4 cells and cause the level of virus in your blood (viral load) to go up. The medicines then become less effective when taken.
Be sure that your partner or partners know that you have HIV. Then they will know it's important to use condoms for all sexual activity and to be tested often for HIV. Protect your partners by keeping yourself healthy. Take all of your medicines and get tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases.
You can avoid spreading the virus to others by making sure they do not come into contact with your body ﬂuids.
- Abstinence (not having sex) is the best way to prevent the spread of HIV infection and some other STDs. If abstinence is not possible, use condoms whenever you have sex—vaginal, anal, or oral.
- Do not share drug equipment. Blood can get into needles, syringes, and other equipment. If the blood has HIV in it, the infection can be spread to the next user.
- Do not share items that may have your blood on them, such as razors or toothbrushes.
For more information, see related links:Back to Top
- Page last reviewed: January 16, 2015
- Page last updated: January 16, 2015
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