In most cases, congenital heart defects, such as tricuspid atresia, can't be prevented. If you have a family history of heart defects or if you already have a child with a congenital heart defect, a genetic counselor and a cardiologist experienced in congenital heart defects can help you look at possible risks associated with future pregnancies.

Some steps you can take that might reduce your baby's risk of heart and other birth defects in pregnancy include:

  • Get adequate folic acid. Take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. This amount, which is often already in prenatal vitamins, has been shown to reduce brain and spinal cord defects, and folic acid may help prevent heart defects, too.
  • Talk with your doctor about medication use. Whether you're taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, an herbal product or a dietary supplement, check with your doctor before using them during pregnancy.
  • Avoid chemical exposure, whenever possible. While you're pregnant, it's best to stay away from chemicals, including cleaning products and paint, as much as you can.
Nov. 08, 2012

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