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Scientists don't have all the answers yet as to what causes heart defects other than random gene mutations. But, there are things that place you at higher risk (smoking, alcohol, certain medications, etc.) and these should be avoided during pregnancy. There are otherwise no proven strategies to prevent CHD.

You should follow your healthcare provider’s instructions during pregnancy, including:

  • Don’t use recreational drugs.
  • Get all recommended screening tests during pregnancy to detect problems as early as possible.
  • Manage any health conditions, such as diabetes and phenylketonuria.
  • Stop smoking and avoid secondhand smoke.
  • Avoid alcohol.


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