Preventing birth defects

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. The state of Ohio and Dayton Children’s  are committed to reducing infant deaths in the state of Ohio and here in our surrounding local hospital area. To bring attention to this important issue we would like to share information and preventive steps.

  • Every 4.5 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect.  They are common, costly and critical.  Birth defects can occur in any family, regardless of age, gender, socio-economic status, race, health history or education.
  • Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States and are a leading cause of infant mortality and prematurity.
  • Birth defects place a considerable physical, emotional and economic burden on individuals, families and society at large.
  • In the United States, birth defects account for 20% of infant deaths, as well as 6-15% of deaths in children up to age 14 years.

There are steps every woman of childbearing age can take to reduce/eliminate birth defects. Many birth defects are formed before a woman even knows she is pregnant.  Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should:

  • Take 400mcg of folic acid daily
  • Eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight
  • Keep diabetes and other chronic diseases under control
  • Stop drinking alcohol
  • Stop smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
  • Not take illegal drugs
  • Know your family medical history and potential genetic risks
  • Plan carefully – visit your health care provider and have a reproductive health plan

Dayton Children’s has been actively involved at the state and local levels in the Ohio movement to reduce infant mortality. Recently, the Infact Mortality Summit was held in Columbus. More than 20 Dayton Children’s Medical Center employees attended the Summit and have committed to reducing infant mortality.

Unfortunately, our infant death rates have not budged for the last three years. We at Dayton Children’s are determined to lower these statistics. We will be communicating our efforts and plans in the future year, so stay tuned!

For more information, visit these websites:

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/cfhs/octpim/infantmortality.aspx

http://www.odh.ohio.gov/odhprograms/cmh/bdefects/birthdefects1.aspx

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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