January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month
“Make a PACT for prevention.”
Plan ahead, Avoid harmful substances, Choose a healthy lifestyle, Talk to a doctor.
Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States and are a leading cause of infant mortality. Babies who survive and live with birth defects are at an increased risk for developing many lifelong physical, cognitive, and social challenges.
Although not all birth defects can be prevented, all women who could become pregnant or are pregnant can lower their risk of having a baby with a birth defect by following some basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years. These include:
- Get as healthy as you can before you get pregnant.
- Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
Avoid harmful substances
- Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
- Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home.
Choose a healthy lifestyle
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, lean proteins, and healthy fats and oils.
- Be physically active.
- Work to get medical conditions like diabetes under control.
Talk to your doctor
- Get a medical checkup.
- Discuss all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter.
- Talk about your family history.
For more information visit The Kentucky Birth Surveillance Registry’s website http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/mch/ecd/kbsr.htm