CDC recognizes January as National Birth Defect Awareness Month and provides tips on early prevention

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes January as the National Month for Education about Birth Defects.

The CDC defines a birth defect as a structural change that is present at birth that can affect almost any part of the body. Birth defects can occur for many reasons, and the CDC says there is a 3% chance a woman will start having a baby with a birth defect, regardless of health or lifestyle factors.

Birth defects affect one in 33 babies and are a leading cause of infant mortality in the country. Most birth defects are discovered within the first year of life.

“Lifespan awareness of birth defects helps individuals, parents and families affected by birth defects get the information they need to seek appropriate care,” says the CDC. “In addition, there is evidence that medical professionals need to provide optimal care to patients in all phases of life: before and during pregnancy as well as in infancy, childhood, adolescence and adulthood.”

According to the CDC, some things can increase the chances of having a baby with a birth defect, such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and having a fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit. You can find more causes here.

The CDC has one Toolbox this describes what scientists have learned about preventing birth defects during pregnancy and a child’s transition from pediatrics to adolescence.

Read about real families living with birth defects here. Find more resources and information on what the CDC is doing for National Birth Defects Awareness Month here.

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