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Preventing birth defects

The 2014 National Birth Defects Prevention Month theme is “Birth Defects are Common, Costly and Critical.” Birth defects are an issue that not only effect a child, but have the potential to impact the entire community. In honor of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, State Senator Shannon Jones shares some of the tips for moms-to-be to help prevent birth defects.

Preventing birth defects
Guest Blogger: State Senator Shannon Jones, Springboro

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and provides a great opportunity for future and current moms to learn what preventative measures can be taken to reduce the frequency of birth defects. In our state, nineteen percent of all infant deaths are related to birth defects. Ohio is ranked 47th in overall infant mortality and 49th in African American babies. These statistics are not only troubling, but unacceptable.

The Ohio Department of Health recommends many simple preconception preventative measures to reduce the frequency of birth defects:

  • Consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily
  • Manage chronic maternal illnesses such as diabetes, seizure disorders, or phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • Talk to a health care provider about taking any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and illicit drugs
  • See a health care provider regularly
  • Avoid toxic substances at work or at home
  • Ensure protection against domestic violence
  • Know your family history and, if appropriate, seek reproductive genetic counseling

Each year, nearly 4,500 babies in Ohio are born with a birth defect. Together, we can make the change to see healthier moms and babies.

For more information about National Birth Defects Prevention Month visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website.

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