EATON — About 120,000 babies are affected by birth defects each year in the United States.
In Ohio, one in every 33 babies is born with a major birth defect each year. Not only can birth defects lead to lifelong challenges and disability, they are also the most common cause of death in infants and the second most common cause of death in children aged one to four years.
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. The theme for 2016 is “Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects – Make a PACT for Prevention.” 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, all women are encouraged to make a PACT for their own health and the family they may have one day.
•Get as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant.
•Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
Avoid harmful substance
•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 family history.
Women and their loved ones can participate in their PACT and take these important preventive steps that can lead to a reduction in the number of birth defects.
The National Birth Defects Prevention Network in collaboration with many state and local organizations, such as Preble County Public Health Prenatal and Reproductive Health Services and Preble County WIC, are working together to share in a nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes and their impact.
To keep up with other public health–related issues make sure to check out Preble County Public Health online at www.preblecountyhealth.org, through Facebook at www.facebook.com/PrebleCoHealth and on Twitter at @PrebleCoHealth! We are also available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m. by phone at 937-472-0087.