Whether you are an obstetrician or a general practitioner, telemedicine can help you educate and stay in touch with your pregnant patients.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born and are the leading cause of infant deaths. In fact, birth defects account for 20% of all infant deaths.
Many birth defects are avoidable. The challenge for healthcare providers is to educate couples about interventions to reduce the risks. Virtual care can solve this problem.
Telemedicine can help you educate your patients on the importance of folic acid and vaccinations in reducing the risk of birth defects.
1. Folic Acid
Women actively trying to get pregnant and those in their first trimester should follow a strict folic acid regimen. Here are the United States folic acid consumption guidelines to reduce spina bifida and other neural tube defects:
- Women of childbearing age (15-45 years old): 400 μg daily
- One month before becoming pregnant and through the first trimester: 4000 μg daily
- Women who had a previous NTD affected pregnancy, even when not planning to become pregnant: 400 μg daily
Many pregnant patients are not aware of the importance of vaccinations. As a healthcare provider, you are their most trusted source of information regarding the safety and potential side effects of maternal vaccinations.
- One month or more before pregnancy: MMR (Measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine
- During pregnancy (27 and 36 weeks): Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine
- Anytime during pregnancy: the Flu vaccine
Healthcare providers have an important role to play in prenatal health education. Positive reinforcement about engaging in a healthy lifestyle and diet during pregnancy can all be effectively communicated with your patient virtually and increases the chances of successful outcomes.
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