Autism has not been known to be a preventable disease since it has a genetic basis. However, certain considerations can be borne in mind by the pregnant woman to minimize environmental defaulters:
- Avoid smoking and alcohol: Both smoking and alcohol are known to have deleterious effects on fetal physical and mental development and need to be avoided by the pregnant woman.
- Wash raw foods before eating: Raw fruits and vegetables are coated with pesticide chemicals which, if consumed by the pregnant mother, can affect the development of the fetus. Make sure to wash raw foods thoroughly before consuming or put them in salt water for one hour without cutting them.
- Take folic acid: Folic acid is one of the most important micronutrients to be taken during pregnancy. It helps in optimum fetal brain development and prevents various congenital neural defects.
- Ask your doctor before taking any medication: Few conventional medicines like valproate, mood stabilizers and certain pain killers have a harmful effect on fetal brain development. It is strongly advised to consult your doctor before starting or continuing any medication.