NHM Health Focus: National Birth Defects Prevention Month
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.
"Birth defects affect about one in every 33 babies born in the United States each year. They are the leading cause of infant deaths, accounting for more than 20% of all infant deaths. Babies born with birth defects have a greater chance of illness and long term disability than babies without birth defects. " Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Sixty to seventy percent of birth defects have unknown causes. The remaining 30 - 35% are known to be caused by environmental and genetic factors.
Environmental factors known to cause birth defects include:
Genetic factors include:
"While the causes of most birth defects are not known, there are a number of steps a woman can take to reduce her risk of having a baby with a birth defect."( March of Dimes) To best increase chances of having a healthy baby, the March of Dimes recommends that before becoming pregnant, a woman should:
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum has these additional resources related to birth defects and their prevention.