Birth defects are abnormalities that happen to babies before or during the birthing process. Birth defects can be the result of physical or mental impediments. Often birth defects can be decreased through education, lifestyle choices, and screenings. Nonetheless, birth defects are still very much a mystery that science actively seeks to understand. Birth defects do not discriminate and have proved overtly that it can happen to even the “healthiest” of families. As much as birth defects can be induced by lifestyle choices often enough genetics and evolution play a major role as well.
Prevention awareness objectifies what can be measured and heuristics, so let’s discuss the facts:
- 1 out of 33 babies are born with a birth defect
- It is highly recommended that women as early as age 13 incorporate folic acid into their diet to help decrease chances of their babies acquiring a more severe birth defect (during eventual child birthing process)
- Some birth defects can be detected during pregnancy through prenatal care and screenings. Preconception screenings are also available.
- Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, and some medications definitively increase chances of birth defects
- Birth defects can be the cause of either, or both, genetic factors or lifestyle choices
“A woman can take some important steps before and during pregnancy to help prevent birth defects. She can take folic acid; have regular medical checkups; make sure medical conditions, such as diabetes, are under control; have tests for infectious diseases and get necessary vaccinations; and not use cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs (National Birth Defects Prevention Network).”
Play your part and make sure that you and your family are informed. For further information please consult your health care provider about birth defects prevention and awareness.