Ways to Reduce Birth Defects with March of Dimes

As a pregnant mama, you’re probably concerned about a lot of things, right? Your weight, your blood sugar, protein, hormones. Plus everything that comes with creating that little peanut growing inside of you. Here in the United States, birth defects affect about 1 in every 33 babies born each year. And while there's no way to prevent this from happening, we can help reduce that number. And our friends at the March of Dimes are here to show us how.

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Episode Transcript

Sunny Gault 0:01
As a pregnant mama, you're probably concerned about a lot of things right? Your Wade's your blood sugar, protein hormones, plus everything that comes with creating that little peanut growing inside of you. Well, the March of Dimes is concerned about that too. And they are special guests today, as we explore the top five ways to reduce birth defects in your baby. This is Preggie Pals!

Sunny Gault 0:32
Hey, everybody, and welcome to Preggie Pals. My name is Sunny, and I'm going to be your host today. So just a little quick ditty about myself. I have four kiddos, but I only had three pregnancies. So yes, if you're doing the math, that does include a set of twins. Now guys, it's been a while since I've personally been pregnant. But you know, I love hanging out with y'all. All you pregnant mamas week after week. In fact, this has happened to me like within the last week, I had like, one of those little phantom baby kicks. Do you guys know what I'm talking about? Like, perhaps in between pregnancies or whatever. It's like your tummy. It feels like something's kicking your tummy. And I have these flashbacks of being pregnant. And of course, I think about you guys every time that happens. I'm like, oh, would it be like to be pregnant again. I personally love my pregnancies, which is why I still love talking about pregnancy on preggy power. So speaking of Preggie Pals, if you love this show, as much as we love this show, please consider sharing it with one other pregnant moms out there or more. Hey, you guys are probably hanging out. Go to baby showers and all this kind of stuff. If you can tell at least one other pregnant mama about Preggie Pals. That would be so awesome, you guys because that's how our podcast grows. And we want to help as many pregnant mamas as possible. So thank you so much in advance. Alright guys, we're gonna take a quick break, and we'll be right back.

Sunny Gault 2:34
Welcome back, everyone. And today we're talking about how to reduce birth defects. And we're doing this with the March of Dimes. Our special guest today is Dr. Rahul Gupta. He is the chief medical health officer at March of Dimes. Dr. Gupta, thanks so much for being with us today. I know we've got some great tips we're going to be giving our mamas. Before we dive into that though, can you tell us a little bit more about who you are, as well as your role within the March of Dimes and what the March of Dimes does?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 3:07
Well, thank you for having me, your program, Sunny. It's very important for us as March of Dimes to be talking about some of the issues we will be discussing. My role really is to lead the entire medical enterprise at March dimes, and to help provide that strategic input. And of course, I'm a practicing primary care physician. So I come from a perspective of helping moms and babies, and not just be well during pregnancy. But even before pregnancy in those aspects. I worked both as a health commissioner in the state of Virginia, but also in academia. But I found that oftentimes, as they say, the health of our civilization is often monitored better by the health of our moms and babies. So that's what attracted me to the mission of March of Dimes. And that, you know, it's an amazing mission. It is one that we believe deeply in.

Sunny Gault 4:05
And today, Dr. Gupta, we're talking about birth defects. And I know, you know, I have four kids of my own. And this is one of a mother's greatest fear, right? You know, that something's gonna go wrong with her pregnancy, something's going to happen to our child. And so I know we're speaking today, a little bit to the fear of women, but we also want to provide helpful tips for you guys out there. It's not all gloom and doom, you can have a normal, perfectly healthy pregnancy, but we do want you to be aware of some of the things that can happen. So Dr. Gupta, we know that birth defects affect about one in every 33 babies born in the US each year, which Wow, when I heard that stat, I was like, oh my goodness, like That sounds really high. But tell us more about that. So just from the basics, you know, what's a birth defect?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 4:54
Birth defect is any problem that can happen in the development of that baby. Whether it's their organs or body parts, or how they work, or even sometimes how they process food into energy. So some of these defects could be very outwardly that we've often seen children that have even a cleft palate or clubfoot, repaired some of those aspects of the body. Others are more like heart defects that are very common actually, that can only be detected and you can't see them through an echocardiogram or other other technology. Yet, there's others that can happen in terms of like spine up by fader, where your spine doesn't feel. And those things can can also be metabolic in nature as well. So there are some metabolic defects in addition to these, that just, your body doesn't process food, right? And there's some defects. All of these work, we'll talk about a little bit more about each one. So they're very complex, but the effects are, the aspect is that what can we do about preventing some of those which the some of these are preventable as well? And would we necessarily know as a mother or a parent that our child has a birthday factor, or some things kind of under the radar, so to speak, that we may not even know unless, you know, our doctor brings it up to us? Yes, Sunday? I think that's a very, very important question, which is, first of all, we may not know.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 6:31
Secondly, a doctor may mention, this may be a case that certainly happens to a lot of us. I'm also a parent. And there were some questions in our family, whether there was a stomach defect and, and sometimes you have to wait until the birth happens. And you may get lucky. In other cases, you have to monitor the baby. So it could be any of those aspects. But the most important piece, I think what you can do it from an empowerment standpoint, is preparing yourself for the pregnancy, not waiting until you get pregnant. Because there's a number of things you can also do that we'll talk about, where you can actually reduce your chances of being that one in 33. Babies, you can't eliminate it because a lot of these are unknowns. But we can certainly we know things that which with you can reduce your chances.

Sunny Gault 7:25
Yeah, so we're really talking today about ways to decrease it. It's impossible to completely prevent most things in life, I think, right? But we're doing our best to, you know, basically treat our bodies, you know, the best we possibly can to ensure the best outcome for both mom and baby. So yeah, let's go ahead and talk about some of these tips. You guys have provided these great tips for moms and families out there. So let's start to go through some of these. So these are five tips to help women become healthy moms and have healthy babies. So Dr. Gupta, the first one, it's about taking a multivitamin, but there are some specifics, right. It's not just any kind of multivitamin. What can you tell us about that?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 8:04
Certainly, when we talk about multivitamins, and particularly, we know that there's one that has been very critical, it's called folic acid, it's that type of B vitamin. And folic acid really turns out that if you are taking adequate quantities often, which were for practical purposes, we say it's about 400 micrograms a day. If you're taking adequate amounts, then you're really reducing your chances of those spinal defects that we talked about brain and spinal defect. So this is a particular type of vitamin B, that works to make sure that your body your baby's nervous systems are developing very correctly. Now, you can find folic acid in in a lot of areas like some breads, breakfast cereals, specially called Massa flour. We also want to tell you that you want to check the label when you're looking for either this type of flour or supplements to ensure that it does carry 100% of the daily value of folic acid that's very important to check the nutritional labels and start taking that even when you're planning to become pregnant in that way to do become pregnant.

Sunny Gault 9:19
I'll be honest, it's been about five years since I've had a baby. But sometimes I still take those because they're great for your hair. They're great for a lot of other things. But how far out would you say if someone's planning to have a baby? You're talking about like six months before conception? Or is there a magic number or what do you usually tell people?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 9:37
Yeah, so the idea is when you're thinking about knowing that some of these cannot be absolutely planned. You're going to get pregnant when you're going to get pregnant when you're trying to get pregnant. So the idea is, as you're thinking about it and start to plan, you should start to focus on your folic acid supplementation along with other things and also know that there are some natural forms of folic acid to lentils, green leafy vegetables, black beans, orange juice. So one of the first steps might be that you just start to take and change your diet to make sure that you're taking more of free feed in green leafy vegetables, more of lentils and, and black beans, some of those changes start to happen. And then obviously, you start to supplement as well as start the supplements too. But when you start thinking about planning, and you're starting to plan, this is a good one to remember to, to start at the very beginning.

Sunny Gault 10:32
Yeah, and it sounds like that, that's not too hard to start incorporate some of that stuff into our diet, you know, not necessarily having to take a pill right away. But it's always good for us to eat more that kind of stuff, you know, and to, to think about it on perhaps like a little more healthier level. So that sounds like a good way to kind of ease into all of that. I love that. Alright, so let's go on to tip number two is, and we talked about this a little bit before, but this kind of plays to two things that you can do prior to pregnancy. So see your health care provider in the new year for a pre pregnancy checkup. So this is before you get pregnant. And is this just kind of like a physical just to kind of see where you are before getting pregnant?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 11:11
Yeah, so this is another one of those great tips, which is, when you're planning to get pregnant, we know our country is going through one of the lower fertility rates today, in the last 32 years. We also know today that women are deciding to get pregnant later on in life. So which is their choice, but one of the consequences is we're finding that more women today have chronic diseases as a result of waiting later to get pregnant. So we're starting to see more women that have high blood pressure, or diabetes or obesity as a consequence. And that just makes pregnancy a little bit more difficult. And not only does it impact the baby, but also impacts the mom. And one of our focus in March of Dimes has been to make sure that we're looking after both the health of the baby and your health as the mom so that you're able to take care of the baby not just during pregnancy, but after pregnancy, your physical and mental health. So the idea of this Checkup is to ensure that you are empowered with all those things and steps that you can do in order to become the most healthy, and most in shape to become pregnant. So this can range from things like making sure you have the best weight for yourself that you can possibly have. You control your blood pressure and diabetes, you have your medication and right medication, you're doing the right amount of physical activity and diet. You're taking your vitamin supplements, as we spoke about, you know, and we'll get to some of the other things too. But getting that advice.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 12:51
We also know the stress of pregnancy is a big deal too. So sometimes also important to be aware that with pregnancy comes a little bit of that stress, and you have to prepare if you're prepared, you'll probably deal with it better because that stress, it turns out that some of the studies that does also could negatively potentially impact your baby in your womb. Yeah. And I think this is probably a good time to to ask your doctor, if you're on any kind of current medications, we get a lot of people with our podcast asking questions about that, oh, I'm on this medication, can I get pregnant on this medication? Or, you know, I'm on antidepressant pills or something like that, like, how would that impact my pregnancy? And this is a good time to get that kind of information in advance. And I think this also leads to having less stress during all of this, right? Because if you're worried about medication, or is something adversely impacting you and your baby, obviously, that that's not good when you're trying to get pregnant. And after you get pregnant as well, yes. And in fact, there are some medications specifically that are prohibited if you're getting pregnant. So it's very good opportunity to talk about acne medications that can actually related to birth defects. So it's important to make sure that you're not on any of those medications, that could unintentionally lead to a birth defects very early in your pregnancy. So it's a great opportunity for you to connect with your physician or other provider and talk about your medication list amongst others.

Sunny Gault 14:16
All right, well, you guys, we're gonna take a brief break. And when we come back, we're going to wrap up our top five list with Dr. Gupta. So don't go anywhere. We'll be right back.

Sunny Gault 14:30
All right. Welcome back, everyone. Thanks for being with us on preggy pals. Today we are talking with the March of Dimes. We're talking with Dr. Rahul Gupta. He is the chief medical health officer at March of Dimes, and we're talking a little bit about birth defects but more importantly, steps that we can take to help reduce that happening in our own pregnancies, which is really important and I think these tips are really practical guys. So hopefully you guys are enjoying this. We're going to continue on with our list right now. So Dr. Gupta, number three on our list is about vaccinations and making sure vaccinations are up to date. Now, I know a lot of our listeners are a little weary of vaccinations so that this might be a little bit of a hot button point with some of you that are listening. But let's hear about vaccinations from your standpoint here, and what we really need to consider as pregnant women.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 15:22
Sure, Sunny, I think that's an important piece. And it's important to recognize that some some of us out there may be thinking, well, I don't know if it's safe, if it's the right thing to do it, could it harm my baby. And I think it's very important, on one hand to recognize that we have more research on vaccinations than a lot of the medications. So amongst definitely, they are one of the biggest achievements of public health in the world, but also at the same time, some of the most studied in terms of drug products out there, and we have found them to be very safe. So it's, I just want to first of all, sort of restate the safety of vaccines, especially during pregnancies before we start talking about which ones. So they're pretty safe. And it's important when you do have doubts or questions, which is reasonable to have to talk to your provider about it. Just make sure that you are getting the right information and the the most scientific data rather than what's available purely on the web, because there is a lot of misinformation covered up as information on the web. So when you do have concern, talk to a trusted provider about the facts.

Sunny Gault 16:40
Yeah, Dr. Google isn't necessarily the best doctor guys to consult with, right, because there's a lot of misinformation online. So that's a great point.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 16:48
It is. And there's a lot of, you know, it's become almost a sort of a hot button issue where there are certainly folks in the anti vaccine community that will tell you whatever needs to be told in order to make sure that you're scared enough. So it's important that we don't, we don't allow anyone to exploit your vulnerability during this time. And so you're getting the right information, and you're getting the facts and you're making that decision for yourself. You know, this is one of those areas where there is a reason for you to also be prepared before getting pregnant because there are some vaccines that you cannot take during pregnancy, they are prohibited for you so but if you have some of those infections, that can actually hurt your baby really bad. So we're talking about, for example, German measles, as it used to be called it's really rubella. rubella is an example that could remain asymptomatic, meaning we you may not know about it, but if when it crosses the placenta and goes, it could cause miscarriages, it could cause loss of the baby. But it can also cause very severe and bad birth defects. So it's very important for you to get screened for some of those diseases. But also, when you go for a visit, before getting pregnant, your doctor will make sure you're up to date with a vaccine called MMR. It's for mumps, measles, and Rubella. Now, that vaccine cannot be given to you if you're already pregnant. So you've got to make sure you are covered. Those cases of rubella do not necessarily domestically happen first, but this still can be a risk when you're traveling internationally. So it's very important before pregnancy to make sure your vaccination status is up to date.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 18:41
And then during pregnancy, we want to make sure that there's a couple of diseases that are very critical, important. One is whooping cough, which is called pertussis. So there's a vaccine for that called T DAP. That's very important because we know that when a baby is born, at least for the first six months, the baby cannot develop its own immunity. So what we tend to do is cocoon the baby, we want to make sure that everybody that comes around to touch the baby, hold the baby, they're all protected from pertussis, this disease that is very, you know, it's very difficult to recognize in adults because so basically a coughing, kind of ailments. But if all of the grandparents siblings, parents are covered for the tidak vaccine that we can actually protect that baby because we know the deaths, majority of the deaths happen in babies for pertussis, they do not happen in adults or children. So that's a reason to make sure that your T that vaccine is up to date when you're pregnant and the other one of course is full. So talk to your provider about what type of flu vaccine is good for you. There's different options available, but you want to make sure that you're also being protected our levels of flu vaccine

Dr. Rahul Gupta 20:00
Seeing coverage during pregnancy are still below acceptable level to this country which is, which is, which is kind of a problem because flu is another one of those illnesses that can have bad outcomes if you get sick for your baby. And you can really easily avoided by a simple vaccine. So are we talking more about it being bad for the baby still in utero, or once the baby is born like a newborn baby obviously doesn't have very much defense against you know, these kinds of things, or is it both so these certainly when it comes to a disease, such as pertussis, it's certainly a newborn baby. That is we worry about the most. And remember that it takes at least a couple of weeks for anyone to develop that immunity. So it's very important that you it's not like if you get a vaccine today, you can protect you have the protection tomorrow. So it takes time. So the idea and concept here is that when a baby is born, the baby does not get exposed to pertussis, anyone having protestors. The second piece of this is, of course, the flu vaccine is itself that it can result in poor outcomes either during pregnancy, as well as afterwards. So that's that's kind of both you want to worry about you want to care about. We saw even during the h1 in one pandemic that happened, that there was a disproportionate impact on pregnant women in terms of poor outcomes when they did acquire that pandemic disease. So it's very important that a flu perspective you're protected before. You are not just during the pregnancy, but even afterwards, so you have enough of antibiotic antibodies in your system.

Sunny Gault 21:46
So I feel like because we're talking about diseases and stuff right now something that's really big in the news if you guys are listening to this episode, right when we first release it is the Coronavirus and there's no cure for that me What do pregnant women need to know about this right now? Since it's such a hot button topic? I feel like we need to least address this. Um, what would you have to say to pregnant women right now regarding this this thing that seems to be spreading and it's causing a lot of concern?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 22:14
Yeah, I think that's another great, right. contemporary issue, Sunny. And Coronavirus, is something that we know that it's a novel virus, we know there's elements of that in there. And it tends to happen that happened with SARS, as well as well as h1 and one in the past, which is these viruses tempt to jump on to human beings. We also know from the data we're receiving that it is transmitted through respiratory droplets, that means coughing, and other activities that could spread the droplets. And it's a upper respiratory kind of ailment. So people resolve it basically results in a pneumonia type of panels that provide and has a high level of severity to it. We know that there's 10s of 1000s of cases, mostly in China. And there's obviously a growing slowly growing but growing number of cases in the United States. They have been in number of deaths, obviously the most in China. And so the risk of any novel virus on populations that are not previously exposed, tends to be quite a bit, as well as on those individuals that may have other existing chronic medical conditions. So we do not yet understand the epidemiology entirely. Well of Coronavirus. A lot of that's because we do not have that data from China to understand it in a public realm. But it's important to note if you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, that you want to be careful of the other activities. So we talked about all of the things that we're discussing today. It allows you to be more healthy and have a level of immunity that will protect you.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 23:58
But at the same time. Yes, I think it's very important, whether it's Coronavirus, or the flu, that if if you're seeing others who may be sick, whether it's at work, in commute, grocery stores, stay away, because that's one way to make sure that you are exercising universal precautions. It is always a good idea to just you know wash your hands. He cover your cough, sneeze, ask others to do the same. And if you feel this illness spreading, maybe you decide to stay away from work or home, work or school, stay at home and work from home. So those are the opportunities and up you know options that you may have at your fingertips today. You know to not only not excuse it not not avoid contracting flu but also reduce your risk which already is very, very low right now United States for Coronavirus, but it is good health practices help you prevent any infections from transmission?

Sunny Gault 25:02
Is it true that as pregnant women, our bodies are a little more susceptible even to these kinds of things? Because, well, we've got to maintain our own bodies, plus, we're creating another human being at the same time is, is that fair to say? Or do our bodies kind of, you know, are they able to adapt to this? Well, I guess I'm trying to figure out if women, pregnant women are more susceptible to these kinds of things, because we're pregnant.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 25:26
The way I think it's very simply put, is when when we are in the state of pregnancy, think about your body going through a stress test, you, we know that there's relationships between women who get pre diabetic during pregnancy, and then they have a long term risk of becoming diabetes, having diabetes. So we know that body goes through a level of stress test. Now, some, some of our bodies are better able to manage that stress test than others. So the idea behind going to your provider beforehand, getting checked out and being in good shape, is being able to manage that stress test the best we can during the pregnancy. So it does make you more vulnerable to a number of these things. But you can manage it, I guess the real answer here is there are things in your within your purview within your strength that you can do when sleeping well, exercising, eating, right, getting your all of these aspects of, you know, the medical care that you need, in order to have the most optimum outcomes for you.

Sunny Gault 26:36
And speaking of exercising, and eating, right, that's a great lead in for tip number four, which is trying to reach a healthy weight before you get pregnant. Now, I know this is another one of those things that I find that most women struggle with at some point in their life is their weight. And and this can be this is this, I don't know, for some women can kind of play a little bit of a mind game on them. Because to say that you need to, you know, be healthy, and even lose weight prior to getting pregnant, a lot of women in their head are like, but I'm gonna gain 40 to 50 pounds. And, you know, I'm gonna have to work that much harder, you know, to get everything off. So it kind of seems counterproductive, I think, to a lot of women. But yeah, let's talk a little bit about this. And the importance of having that healthy weight, even prior to pregnancy.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 27:23
Yes, I think Sunny, that's a great, great thought about like, how do you reason yourself right? When you are looking at, if you need to lose weight, I think the first and most important thing is, no one will recommend you that we want you to be at 150 pounds and that sort of thing. Everyone has a body weight for themselves. That's right for them. So it's important to recognize that it's not a weight you're trying to get to, but it's the most healthiest weight for you. And that's another discussion that we need to have with our providers. First of all, what does that look like? What is that BMI or body mass index that may be the most optimal for you? And when How can we achieve that. And the reason we want to achieve that is when we get pregnant and our resting stage weight at that point is is that versus one that puts you at more at risk for diabetes or high blood pressure, it allows with the expansion of your weight, your fluids are increasing your stress and your heart is increasing as well as new kidneys and others because of the baby's there. But it allows more physiologically increase of weight rather than getting your blood sugar's out of whack, or getting your blood pressure under control, because all of these have consequences to you, as well as your baby. So as much as we can actually control your those those blood pressures and blood sugars, that's a function of healthy gain of weight. So the idea here is to have a healthy gain weight in during your pregnancy rather than unhealthy weight gain. So having a healthy pre pregnancy weight allows you to also then have a healthy weight gain during your pregnancy. And then as a result, it allows you to have a better control over, you know, poor blood pressure and poor blood sugar control as well. So those are all the consequences that we don't want in your pregnancy. And it starts with having good weight. And we talked a little bit earlier about I think Tip number two is to see a health care provider when you go to see that health care provider asking them what an ideal weight would be or what a goal, you know, should be for you I think is a really good idea to kind of figure that out beforehand. So so you can try to maintain that you know and know what a healthy weight gain would be for your body during pregnancy. So those are that's another good reason to see your healthcare provider earlier.

Sunny Gault 29:57
And our last point Dr. Gupta is don't smoke or drink alcohol or use harmful substances during pregnancy? And I don't know, you know, I think a lot of women know to not to do those kinds of things now. But let's talk a little bit more about that. And what it actually does, because as pregnant women, I feel like there's a lot of information coming at us. And there's a lot of don'ts, right? There's a lot of donate process cheese to this. And you know, as a woman, you're just like, Oh, my goodness, like, this pregnancy thing is really rough. There's just a lot of stuff to consider and all of this. And it helps to know the why behind it. Like, oh, this is why this may not be the best thing for me. So when it comes to smoking and alcohol and harmful substances, what is the why behind this? What What can we see happen?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 30:47
Yeah, I think Sunny, that's another great point, which is you're gonna get so many knows that you've got to be able to prioritize your nose. Yeah. So you don't get overwhelmed. And and there are in that priority, some very important nose. And the ones that you mentioned are are those which is smoking, for example, we know that it has just terrible outcomes for your baby. Not only does can it cause growth retardation, and in the womb, but it can also cause miscarriages and other complications, smoking can. And then when the baby is born, of course, the respiratory and lifelong problems that can happen. So smoking is one substance that is clearly related to everything from preterm birth to miscarriages to grow to toleration. So it's very, very important that you make sure that you're not smoking. Another one is alcohol. You know, we have done a pretty fair job of telling women don't drink in first semester, trimester because of body organ growth that happens and the most of the body organs are formed and start to form in the first trimester. We've also seen a little bit of data that shows that perhaps there's some smoking that is that some of the alcohol tricky is happening in the third trimester later on, we might feel like okay, maybe this is not a big deal anymore. And I'm about going to be delivering. What's important is there's a lot of important functions like myelination of the brain for the baby like this, these linings of the brain that are happening and developing in the third trimester. So I want to alert women that make sure that when we talk about alcohol, we'll talk about the entire pregnancy duration, because some of that alcohol can interfere with the development of those myelination processes. So those brain connections and brain cells. And if there are smaller and amount and number, then that's a lifelong thing for the baby. So it's very important to understand and recognize that part from alcohol standpoint.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 32:58
And then when it comes to other substances, we're talking about marijuana, we're talking about opioids, and some of the other substances. Those are we're discovering equally bad. Meaning that we know that we are the country is suffering through an opioid epidemic today, we know that there are some medical cannabis programs across the country that allow for medical use of cannabis. But understand pregnancy is not the time to either begin or continue to use either cannabis or opioids, it's actually the worst time you can, you can potentially do that. Now, having said that, also understand some of these products. All of these we've talked about are true addictions. And addiction is a brain disease. So if it's not good enough for us to just say, Well, you have to quit. Because these are some of the most powerful substances for addiction across the globe. So if you're having problem attempting to quit, and you want to be in the best shape for your baby, then it's very important to seek out help, make sure that you get a licensed provider who can actually provide you both therapy as well as medications that I needed to get you off of some of these substances, because you want to be in the best shape. Once again, as we discussed today, when you go on and want to get pregnant, you want to be in the best shape for your baby to make sure the baby has the best outcome. On the other hand, if you're already pregnant, and you're struggling with some of these that seek help, there's plenty of help available. It's a matter of whether it's calling the quit line, or going to your provider or going to your local health department. It's a matter of just reaching out and there's a plenty of help available for any of these if you're if you're struggling or having challenges quitting.

Sunny Gault 34:52
And I also wanted to speak to the women that are listening to our show right now that I know a lot of you are already pregnant and a lot of the tips that we gave today you may be like, Oh, I'm already pregnant. And I didn't do that. And we don't want you to stress. Right. So Dr. Gupta, can you provide perhaps some tips for the women out there that maybe they're already a few months or even longer into their pregnancies, there's still things that we talked about today, I believe that they can incorporate, and it's never too late to start some of this, right?

Dr. Rahul Gupta 35:21
No. And in fact, this is, this is the ideal time for you, if you're listening out there, and you have not been paying attention to the folic acid, this thing we call folic acid, start doing it. If if you think that perhaps you haven't seen your provider, as often as you should, make sure you do that, put it on your calendar next time. Same thing with vaccines, you can you can take care of that very easily. And sometimes we recognize the struggle between work and other commitments of family. And, but this is important, because just know that you know, that child depends on you right now. And and the best care is, you're the person who can actually provide the best care today for that child. But also take care of yourself. That's the other piece I want to emphasize. Oftentimes, we're thinking about the child, we're not thinking about ourselves. When we talk about getting the right weight, physical activity, all those things, they are pretty much also designed to make sure you are healthy, we lose a woman as a complication of childbirth every 12 hours around the clock in this country. And we say that this it's there's no meaning if you're not there to take care of baby. So your health is very important to us. And you've got to make sure that you're taking care of yourself. That's the only way in fact that you can be you can be able to take care of your baby.

Sunny Gault 36:47
Well, guys, thanks so much for hanging out with us today. Dr. Gupta, these tips were great. We really appreciate everything that you're doing, the March of Dimes is doing and we're certainly proud to partner with you guys to get this information out here. So we appreciate you being with us today.

Dr. Rahul Gupta 37:01
Thank you for having me, sonny. Appreciate it.

Sunny Gault 37:08
That wraps up our show for today. Thank you guys so much for listening. Again, we want to thank the March of Dimes for being our special guest. If you guys want more information, there's a ton of it on their website. Be sure to check it out. It's March of dimes.org. And if you love Preggie Pals as much as we do, please consider checking out the amazing businesses that sponsor our show week after week. We'd also love for you to tell another pregnant mom about this incredible resource, which of course is absolutely free. You're listening to Preggie Pals, your pregnancy your way!

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