What can be done to prevent pediatric congenital heart defects?

In most cases, there is no way to prevent heart defects. However, certain precautions can be taken:

  • A pregnant woman should not drink alcohol or take drugs that have not been prescribed to her.
  • Women with certain chronic conditions (like diabetes, a seizure disorder, or phenylketonuria) should ask their doctors for advice on medications or special diets before they become pregnant.
  • A woman who is able to become pregnant should get 400 micrograms of folate or folic acid per day to prevent birth defects.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/14/2011.

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