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What Should You Know About National Birth Defects Prevention Month?

by Jessica January 8 2015 11:39
The beginning of the New Year also marks the start of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, which takes place every January and was created to raise greater awareness among individuals about the prevalence of birth defects in this country. So what should you know about birth defects? Here are some frequently asked questions.

How Common Are Birth Defects?

Although we have made significant progress in healthcare and research to ensure the safety of the baby, birth defects still occur. In fact, a baby is born with a birth defect every four and a half minutes. One in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. The total hospital costs in the US of babies with birth defects are more than $2.6 billion.

Are Birth Defects Genetic?

They can be, depending upon the specific condition, but researchers are quick to point out that many causes of birth defects are unknown. A healthy woman with no history of birth defects can give birth to a baby with birth defects just as easily as a woman with a family history of birth defects.

Can Anything Be Done to Prevent Birth Defects?

Yes, luckily there are a number of things that women can do to lower their risk of having a child with birth defects. First and foremost, they should increase their intake of folic acid. A lack of folic acid intake for pregnant women has been linked to major birth defects of the brain and spine, such as spina bifida. To help prevent this, expectant mothers can increase their intake of folic acid by 400 mcg. Besides this, pregnant women should avoid alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs, as they can all affect the health of the baby and mother. In addition, they should have regular medical checkups and avoid exposure to chemicals and people who are sick.

180 Medical provides catheters and ostomy supplies to individuals across the country, many of whom require these products due to medical conditions like spina bifida.

We encourage our readers to pass the information along, so everyone is aware of the causes of birth defects and how they can safeguard against them as much as possible.