January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

By Misty on in Baby Sleep News Health Concerns SIDS Research with 8 Comments

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month
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Receiving the news that you are pregnant is an exciting time for both expectant Moms and Dads. It is a time of happiness, preparation, and joy, but it can also bring a bit of uncertainty.

Expectant parents wish for a healthy baby full of wonder and possibilities, but they are also very aware of the potential risks. Whether words are spoken or simply thought, the concern over birth defects is definitely felt.

January is National Birth Defects Prevention MonthJanuary is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and we here at Sweet Sleep Baby wish to provide expectant moms with a few tips to help minimize the risk of birth defects in their baby.

Did you know that one in every 33 babies born in the U.S is born with a birth defect? It is a leading cause of infant mortality and for those children who survive it, it can mean a lifelong physical and mental struggle to live with their disability.

In many cases the cause of particular birth defects may be unknown. Some may be genetic or hereditary but most can simply be prevented by avoiding dangerous substances and environments. It has been widely proven that cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs are significantly linked to the development of birth defects.

  • Alcohol should be avoided at all cost. There is no amount that is safe and there is no type of alcohol that is safe. A common misconception is that alcohol is less a concern after the first trimester. That is totally untrue; alcohol in any quantity should be strictly avoided during the entire pregnancy. The effects of alcohol can produce physical disabilities and lead to learning and behavioral problems which the child may experience throughout life.
  • Smoking cigarettes or any tobacco product should be avoided as should the effects of second hand smoke. Smoking while pregnant can lead to miscarriages, premature births, undersized babies, and numerous on-going health issues for your baby.
  • Babies born to smokers are at great risk of developing heart and lung defects which can hinder their physical and organ growth before birth. They are also prone to developing asthma, respiratory allergies, and have poor brain development which can result in slower development, behavioral and learning problems, and simply lower IQs. Babies who die from sudden death syndrome (SIDS) have been often linked to mothers who smoked during pregnancy.
  • Drugs even prescription drugs are of great concern in preventing birth defects. They carry a multitude of developmental problems for unborn babies and their full damage may not be recognized until the child begins to mature. When a mother must take medication because of her own health concerns such as diabetes, it is important to have frequent doctor check-ups.

There are many positive things expectant mothers can do to be mindful of birth defects prevention.

  • It is highly recommended that she take doctor recommended doses of folic acid which is a B vitamin recognized to play a vital role in the brain and spinal development of the baby and boost red blood cell growth. Women of child bearing age should add folic acid to their diet even before pregnancy so that the vitamin is well absorbed into her system. Studies have shown that women who took folic acid a full year prior to becoming pregnant were 50% less likely to deliver early.
  • Simply adopting a healthy nutritious diet is one of the best ways expectant moms can prevent birth defects. Studies have shown that women who adopted a healthy vegetable and low fat / low sugar diet gave birth to babies with stronger immune systems and brain and spinal development.

Want to learn more on how to avoid birth defects in your baby?

Sweet Sleep Baby is pleased to share these tips to help arm you with knowledge on birth defects prevention. For further information, go to the national Birth Defects Prevention Network at http://www.nbdpn.org/national_birth_defects_prevent.php.

You can also download the following free guides provided from the CDC.

CDC’s Birth Defects Activities
CDC’s National Birth Defects Prevention Study

10 Things You Should Know About Birth Defects

Medication use During Pregnancy/Treating for Two Initiative
CDC’s National Birth Defects Prevention Study Accomplishments
CDC’s State based Birth Defects Tracking

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  1. Lynda Lippin

    January 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm · Reply

    This a very important issue, especially with rise of disordered eating - especially during pregnancy. http://pilatesandreiki.com/tracy-anderson-diet-unhealthy/

    1. Misty

      January 16, 2014 at 1:07 pm · Reply

      Absolutely it is. It's important to be healthy, but sometimes we can get a little overzealous with it and it turns into something unhealthy. The important thing to remember is babies come first! Eat healthy for your baby.

  2. Cynthia Dixon

    January 15, 2014 at 6:14 pm · Reply

    Great article Misty. I hope more mothers-to-be will take heed to your words of wisdom. Having a baby isn't a routine thing and shouldn't be treated as such. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Misty

      January 16, 2014 at 1:08 pm · Reply

      Thank you Cynthia! I can't think of much that is routine about a baby...except of course hopefully a sleep routine! We'd all like that!

  3. Bonnie Gean

    January 15, 2014 at 10:31 pm · Reply

    I couldn't imagine any mother wanting to harm their baby before he/she is born. If you can prevent birth defects by playing it safe during the months you carry the infant - why wouldn't you?

    1. Misty

      January 16, 2014 at 1:09 pm · Reply

      I would think the same thing Bonnie. I'd like to simply blame lack of knowledge but I find that hard to believe that women wouldn't know that these things are harmful. Of course there are many that just simply can't be prevented because it's just something that happens, but for the cases where it absolutely could be prevented simply by treating your body better, there's just no reason. No reason at all.

  4. Mel Day

    January 16, 2014 at 6:42 am · Reply

    It saddens me how many expectant mums are impervious to the potential danger they are placing their child in by continuing unhealthy practices. It's very selfish behaviour and I wonder how much they are prepared to sacrifice once the child is born if they choose not to do so during pregnancy.

  5. Misty

    January 16, 2014 at 1:11 pm · Reply

    It's very sad...but it happens. I don't understand it either. Nothing was more important during my pregnancy's that the health of my baby.

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