Birth Defects Prevention Month, and what you need to know

Mass Appeal

CHICOPEE, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – January is Birth Defects Prevention Month, which is the perfect opportunity to learn about the relevance and vastness of birth defects. Michal Klau-Stevens of The Birth Lady shared some common steps to take before pregnancy to reduce the risks of birth defects.

  • Take folic acid
  • Get a preconception check-up
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get to a healthy weight
  • Control obesity and diabetes, and other chronic diseases
  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, recreational drugs
  • Check with you doctor about the use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies
  • Avoid mercury by eating a limited amount of low-mercury fish
  • Prevent infections by avoiding certain foods, cat litter (toxoplasmosis), common preventable illnesses

Men should follow these good health guidelines too. There are a couple other health risks that men should be aware of, since their reproductive organs are external.

  • Minimize exposure of the testes to heat for prolonged periods, such as bathing in hot tubs, hot showers over 30 minutes long, electric blankets, and keeping a laptop on the lap for long periods. Tight clothes, such as tight briefs and spandex can also cause overheating.
  • Cycling can impact sperm production because of the pressure of the bike seat on the groin area. Men who cycle regularly and are hoping to become fathers should monitor the amount of time they are on the seat.

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