Birth defects are defined abnormalities present at birth. “There are more than 4,000 different known birth defects, ranging from minor to serious, and although many can be treated or cured, they're the leading cause of death in the first year of life.” Birth defects can be genetic, environmental, and can be caused by unknown factors. Birth defects can range from minor to major defects. Major defects can require surgery or medical treatment. Many defects can be treated right after birth, some even before the baby is born. Common birth defects are Cleft Lip, Cerebral Palsy, and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Many of these defects can be diagnosed through prenatal screening by having your routine blood work, medical history and through your ultrasound. Some defects that can be detected through this screening process can be Spina Bifida, Down syndrome, defects of the limbs, and congenital tumors. So it’s very important to do all your blood work when you are pregnant and to make it to all your prenatal appointments.
Can birth defects be prevented? You can take precautions but many defects cannot be prevented. If you are trying to get pregnant there are some things you should consider doing so that you can be cautious. You should make sure you have all your shots up to date, also taking prenatal pills several months before you are trying to get pregnant. You can also take precautions while you are pregnant that will lower the risk of your baby having possible defects. Some things you should consider is not smoking, do not drink and do any type of illicit drugs, prenatal care is also important, taking care of yourself and eating right and exercising regularly will keep you in good health. It’s also important that if you have any questions to ask your health care provider. So be aware of the things you do during pregnancy and before you decide to get pregnant that could lower your chances of your baby having any defects.
“According to the March of Dimes, about 150,000 babies are born with birth defects each year in the United States. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says that 3 out of every 100 babies born in the United States have some kind of major birth defect.” (Link) So it is very important that you take care of yourself as well as take the necessary precautions to lower the chances of your baby having any defects. Share this article with your friends and family and spread the word on Birth Defects Prevention Month.