Thursday, January 2, 2014

January Is Birth Defects Prevention Month

If you have been a long term reader, you know that our daughter Aubrey Elizabeth was stillborn April 10, 2013 due to a FATAL birth defect known as Anencephaly. You can read our story here, as well as read more about the condition.  All though we were told our case was not preventable, there are ways that you can TRY to prevent birth defects from happening. Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States and are a leading cause of infant mortality. 1 in 5 babies born with a birth defect die, and every 4 1/2 minutes a baby is born with a birth defect.  Babies who survive and live with birth defects are at increased risk for developing many lifelong physical, cognitive, and social challenges. There are many different kinds of birth defects including congenital heart defects, cleft lip or palate, defects of brain and spine, and a variety of genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome. Some have only a minor and brief effect on a baby’s health and some have life-threatening and/or life-long effects. Medical care and support services only scrape the surface of the financial and emotional impact of living with birth defects. The good news is awareness efforts offer hope for reducing the number of birth defects in the future. 
The following prevention strategies can be promoted. Please encourage all pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to:
• Consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily- This is VITAL in helping to prevent Anencephaly. Lack of is usually the cause.
• 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 their family history and seek reproductive genetic counseling, if appropriate
I found a GREAT PDF for resources on different birth defects. There are links here that are very educational. Raise awareness! I would never want anyone to feel the pain that we did. Please feel free to share this post with your friends, family..anyone for that matter. Thank you!
Credit for some of my sources in my article.


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