Birth defects are conditions that occur before or at the time of birth. A birth defect may affect a child’s health or development. The child may need special medical care or therapy as a result. Some conditions are caused by genetic factors, like Down syndrome. Others are caused by exposures during pregnancy, like alcohol use. The causes of many birth defects are still unknown. They affect the physical and emotional health of thousands of Michigan children and families each year. This makes them a serious public health problem. Some birth defects can be prevented by healthy habits such as taking folic acid daily before and during pregnancy. The resources below provide great tips on prevention strategies, treatment options and support for Michigan families.