You and I are only humans we can't change the past, we can only change the future. Every 4.5 minutes a baby is born with a birth defect. We want to help you reduce this risk.
Birth defects are the leading cause of death in children less than 1 year of age.
January is Birth Defect Prevention month, a time to focus on raising awareness about the frequency with which birth defects occur and steps that can be taken to prevent them.
How Serious are Birth Defects?
A Birth Defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in mother's body. Most birth defects likely happen for many reasons and environment is also a possible contributor. Some Birth Defects like Cleft Lip or Neural Tube Defects are structural problem that can be seen easily.
When does it occur:-
• Birth defects occur before a baby is born. Most birth defects occur in the first 3 months of pregnancy, when the baby’s organs are forming.
• Some birth defects occur later in pregnancy i.e. during the last six months.
• Most birth defects are found within the first year of life. Some birth defects like cleft lip or clubfoot are easy to see, but others like heart defects or hearing loss are found using special tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, or hearing tests.
• Babies with birth defects are also more likely to be born preterm, before the 37th week of pregnancy.
Major factors that are responsible for Birth Defects:-
• Genes, behaviours, and the environmental factors.
• Taking certain drugs, smoking, or drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
• Women with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or obesity.
• Taking certain medications, such as Isotretinoin (a drug used to treat severe acne).
• Having someone in the family with a birth defect.
• Women over the age of 35 years have a higher chance of having a child with Down’s Syndrome.
• Young women (teenagers) are more likely to have a baby born with Gastroschisis (a defect in the abdominal wall).
Not all birth defects can be prevented, but you can take some actions that increase your chance of having a healthy baby:-
• Plan your pregnancy: Most birth defects occur very early in pregnancy, sometimes before you know that you are pregnant.
• See a health care provider before you become pregnant and control any medical condition such as obesity, diabetes, seizures, etc.
• Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy.
• Take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.
• Exercise moderately and eat a well-balanced diet.
• Be careful with harmful exposures at work and home that may harm an unborn baby.
Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also can be stressful. Knowing that you are doing all that you can to get ready for pregnancy, staying healthy during pregnancy, and giving your baby a healthy start in life will help you to have peace of mind.