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National Birth Defect Prevention Month: This is What You Should Know

January is National Birth Defect Prevention Month. Our friends at Mom Loves Best have some tips that you should be aware of all year long. Read more below:

“National Birth Defect Prevention Month: This is What You Should Know

If you’re planning a pregnancy or you’re in the early stages of one, there’s no better time to learn about birth defects than in January, the month dedicated to celebrating and raising awareness for National Birth Defects Prevention Month. With just a few minutes of your time, you can learn all the crucial facts you need to know to give your baby their best shot at a healthy and normal life.

What are birth defects?

When an abnormal condition occurs during pregnancy or at birth, that is what’s called a birth defect. They can range from mild conditions to ones that can prove to be life-threatening.

Although there are many different types of birth defects, some are rare, while others are way more prevalent. Here are some of the most common ones you might want to do more research into:

  • Cleft Lip or Palate: A malformation of the lips or mouth of a fetus.
  • Congenital Heart Defects: A heart defect that occurs in almost 1 percent of births in the U.S. every year
  • Down Syndrome: A condition that occurs when a baby has an extra copy of chromosome 21, which can create a difference in development in the brain and the body.
  • Cerebral Palsy: A condition that’s caused when the developing brain sustains damage or fails to progress as it normally would.
  • Clubfoot: When a baby’s tissues between the muscles and bone in their foot and leg aren’t as long as they need to be, the result is clubfoot.
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: The name given to a wide range of issues that happen because of a mom ingesting alcohol while she’s pregnant.

How can I prevent birth defects?

When it comes to birth defects, education is critical. Doing your own research and learning more about birth defects is so important because they cause more fatalities in children under the age of 1 than anything else does. Every day, an average of 18 babies die from birth defects.

Far more suffer from birth defects than that though. For every 33 babies born, one will have a birth defect. That amounts to a staggering 150,000 children each year who will be born facing the challenge of birth defects.

What makes birth defects even more heartbreaking is the fact that some of them are preventable just from what we already know about them. If all pregnant women were to get proper prenatal care, a quarter of infant deaths could be avoided.

Therefore working closely with your doctor and a prenatal specialist should always be your first line of defense. After that, specific lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, not drinking alcohol during pregnancy, eating a nutritionally dense diet and supplementing with folic acid are the next best things you can to reduce your risks.

If you would like to learn more, click here to read about the 20 steps you can take during your pregnancy to reduce your risk of birth defects.”