Birth Defects Prevention Month 2017

"Prevent to Protect: Preventing Infections for Baby's Protection."

The theme for 2017 is Prevent to Protect: Preventing Infections for Baby's Protection. Some infections before and during pregnancy can hurt you and your baby. They can cause serious illness, birth defects, and lifelong disabilities, such as hearing loss or learning problems. Here are some examples of how you can reduce your risk of getting infection during pregnancy to help protect your baby.

2017 - Michigan Press Release and Michigan Proclamation

National Birth Defects Prevention Network Resources

National Birth Defects Prevention Month 2017 Toolkit

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2015 - 2016

MI healthy baby

"Make a PACT for Prevention."

The theme is "Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects- Make a PACT for prevention." Birth defects are common, costly and critical. Every 4 1/2 minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. We know not all birth defects can be prevented. But, we also know that women can increase their chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy. Small steps, like making health choices, visiting a healthcare provider well before pregnancy, controlling your weight through healthy diet and activity, and taking a multivitamin every day, can go a long way.

2016 - Michigan Press Release and Michigan Proclamation

2015 - Michigan Proclamation

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2013 - 2014

"Birth Defects are Common, Costly, and Critical."

Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States, are a leading cause of infant mortality, and create $2.6 billion per year in hospital costs. Babies who survive and live with birth defects are at increased risk for developing many lifelong physical, cognitive, and social challenges. Medical care and support services only scrape the surface of the financial and emotional impact of living with birth defects. The risk for many types of birth defects can be reduced through healthy lifestyle choices and medical interventions before and during pregnancy. Awareness efforts offer hope for reducing the number of birth defects in the future.

2014 - Michigan Press Release

2013 - Michigan Proclamation and Michigan Press Release

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2012

"And the Beat Goes On... Looking to the Future for Healthy Hearts"

The focus of this year's Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign is the prevention of congenital heart defects. In Michigan, approximately 10,000 babies are born with a birth defect each year with 1,000 babies being affected with congenital heart defects. Congenital heart defects are abnormalities of the heart that are present at birth. Some have only a minor, brief effect on a baby's health and some have serious, life-long effects. The heart forms in the early weeks of pregnancy; diet, lifestyle choices, factors in the environment, health conditions and medications all play a role in preventing or causing congenital heart defects. Small steps like visiting a health care provider before pregnancy and taking a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid go a long way. The Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services approved newborn screening by pulse oximetry for critical congenital heart defects (CCHD).

Michigan Press Release

National Birth Defects Prevention Network Resources

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2011

"Medication Use During Pregnancy"

The focus of this year's Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign is medication use during pregnancy and encouraging all women of childbearing age to talk with their health care provider about which medications are safe to take while pregnant. Most women take prescriptions to treat chronic conditions or over-the-counter medicines during pregnancy and may not be aware of potential problems they pose during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Though some women know prescription drugs can cause birth defects, they may not be aware that some dietary supplements and herbal supplements may not be safe to take during pregnancy. Some medications should be continued during pregnancy but may need to be changed or adjusted, especially for medical conditions that need to be managed during pregnancy such as diabetes, influenza and asthma that may harm both mother and baby if left untreated. In some cases, doctors may need to weigh the benefits of a medication against its harmful effects. It is recommended that a pregnant woman does not stop taking a medication until she has discussed it with her health care provider. Since half of pregnancies are unplanned, it is vital for health care professionals to discuss with all women of childbearing age about the safety of their medication use during pregnancy and how treatment can be optimized before conception. In addition to making any changes to medications, every woman should take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, maintain a healthy diet, avoid alcohol and smoking and get a flu shot.

Michigan Press Release

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2010

"Diabetes Management – Before, During and After Pregnancy"

The focus of this year's Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign is diabetes management before, during and after pregnancy. All diabetes, not just gestational, has been linked to birth defects when the disease is not carefully controlled. The prevalence of diabetes has vastly increased over the past decade and the general public is not fully aware of the complications that uncontrolled diabetes has on both the pregnant woman and her baby. For a woman with diabetes, the key is to keep blood glucose in the target range both before and during pregnancy. Steps like visiting a health care provider before pregnancy and discussing your diabetes management and taking a multivitamin daily can make a difference.

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2009

"Getting Fit for Pregnancy"

The focus of this year's Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign is obesity prevention and weight management before, during and after pregnancy. Good health habits for everyone, especially women of childbearing age, include knowing your family history, keeping regular health check-ups and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity and keeping a healthy diet are important components for a healthy lifestyle for everyone. For every woman, taking a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, starting before she gets pregnant, improves the likelihood of delivering a healthy baby. Though many women know that being overweight increases their chance for diabetes and other health conditions in themselves, they may not realize that being overweight or obese creates unnecessary risks to the baby's health. Obesity and overweight women have higher risk pregnancies, being more likely to experience hypertension, gestational diabetes and preeclampsia – which all increase the chance of having a premature baby. Also, studies have shown that babies of obese mothers are more likely to be born with birth defects like spina bifida. Healthy habits improve a woman's health and ultimately their baby's health. Good habits include regular physical exercise (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week), healthy eating through a balanced diet (low in fats, at least 5 or more servings a day of fruits and vegetables) and getting to a healthy weight. A woman should talk to her health care provider about making healthy changes to get fit for pregnancy.

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2008

"Preventing Infections in Pregnancy"

The focus of this year's Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign is preventing infections in pregnancy. Good health habits for everyone, especially women of childbearing age, are knowing your family history and genetic risks, seeing a health care provider, avoiding exposure to diseases and managing health problems. Women who are pregnant or are planning to get pregnant need to be especially careful when avoiding infection and disease. Some helpful tips include frequent hand washing, careful when handling raw meats, avoiding dirty cat litter and not handling pet rodents or their bedding. Women should talk to their doctor about testing for infections like group B strep and Hepatitis B. Other infections that should be discussed with a health care provider are chickenpox, cytomegalovirus, fifth disease, genital herpes, HIV, AIDS, Rubella (German measles), sexually transmitted infections and toxoplasmosis. This national campaign is working with doctors and other health care providers to encourage an increase in education for women about infections that can harm a baby before it is born.

Birth Defects Prevention Month 2007

"Good Health Habits for a Lifetime"

The focus of this year's Birth Defects Prevention Month campaign is preconception health. Optimal preconception health is important for mother and baby's health. Reaching optimal health prior to conception can start with having regular check-ups with a health care provider. There are many other healthy habits women should practice before pregnancy to reduce the chance of prematurity, low birth weight and birth defects in their future baby; consuming 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, knowing one's family health history, seeking reproductive genetic counseling when appropriate, managing chronic maternal illnesses, avoiding alcohol, nicotine and illicit drugs, ensuring that prescription medication and herbal supplements are safe at the time of conception and during early pregnancy, avoiding harmful occupational and environmental exposures, avoiding infections and ensuring protection against domestic violence.

News Release