January is Birth Defects Prevention Month!
Birth defects are common, costly and critical. Every 4½ minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect. Professionals, community groups, and the public can act to reduce the risk of certain birth defects, detect those that occur as soon as possible and prevent secondary complications.
A robust packet of information is available from the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN). This packet was developed in collaboration with many partners, including the Teratology Society, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and American Academy of Pediatrics. The Network’s goal for 2015 is to continue to increase awareness that birth defects are "Common, Costly and Critical" and to offer actionable steps that can be taken by professionals, community groups, and the public to prevent birth defects.
Not all birth defects can be prevented; however, all women, including teens, can lower their risk of having a baby born with a birth defect by following some basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years. This year we encourage all women to make a PACT for their own health and the family they may have one day.
Please take the time to become familiar with the materials and share them with individuals or organizations that work with women of childbearing age.
o Get as healthy as you can before you get pregnant.
o Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
Avoid harmful substances
o Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
o Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.
Choose a healthy lifestyle
o Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils.
o Be physically active.
o Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.
Talk to your doctor
o Get a medical checkup.
o Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
o Talk about your family history.