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January is Birth Defects Prevention Month

If a woman consumes enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain and spine.

In January the focus is on birth defects, a condition which affects one in 33 babies each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Birth defects are present at birth and are categorized as abnormalities of structure, function or body metabolism. There are 4,000 known classifications of birth defects some of which are serious while others are minor. Birth defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life.

National Folic Acid Awareness Week Exit Disclaimer is to Jan 6-12, 2013. Folic acid is a B vitamin that aids the body in making new cells. It is recommended that all women, especially pregnant women take at least 400 micrograms (400 mcg) of folic acid each day. If a woman consumes enough folic acid before and during pregnancy, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain or spine.

Do you want to learn more about birth defects? You may be an expectant parent or just someone who is concerned about birth defects. The first step is to contact your health care provider to discuss your interest. In addition, the list of resources below will provide you with useful and valuable information no matter your interest level:

Birth Defects Resources

  1. Birth Defects (from A-Z)
    The information on this page is categorized into useful chunks such as Diagnosis/Symptoms, Prevention/Screening, Coping and Specific Conditions. It is a great starting page for learning about birth defects.
  2. March of Dimes Exit Disclaimer
    Ever on the vanguard in research into birth defects, this organization provides a one-stop shopping platform that has something for everyone from the novice as well as the advanced user.
  3. CDC Folic Acid Page
    This page provides useful information on folic acid including FAQs, a list of cereals that contain folic acid, a folic acid quiz, information on the National Folic Acid Campaign and a section for health professionals.
  4. National Birth Defects Prevention Network Exit Disclaimer
    A network formed to establish local, state and national birth defect resources. The focus is on surveillance and research, identifying prevention strategies, and assisting families and their providers.
  5. Birth Defects
    10 Things You Should Know about Birth Defects (Spanish [PDF | 384KB] Exit Disclaimer)
    Use this resource to find 10 quick tips about birth defects [PDF | 398KB] Exit Disclaimer)  , how to prevent them and their impact on not only the family, but the nation.


You will need Adobe Acrobat® Reader™ to view PDF files located on this site. If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat® Reader™, you can download here for free. Exit Disclaimer



Content Last Modified: 12/31/2012 9:08:00 AM
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Office of Minority Health
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