Baby Your Baby: Birth Defects Prevention Month

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Baby Your Baby: Birth Defects Prevention Month (Photo: KUTV)

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. The theme for this year campaign is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent infections for baby’s protection.” As part of National Birth Defects Prevention Month - 2018, the Utah Birth Defect Network is encouraging the general public, as well as healthcare professionals, and educators to support this effort to raise awareness. Every 4 1/2 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States.

We know that 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. Some infections before and during pregnancy can hurt both you and your baby. They can cause birth defects and lifelong disabilities, such as hearing loss or learning problems. You can reduce your risk of getting an infection during pregnancy to help protect your baby by following these recommendations:

Get vaccinated

Get the flu shot and the whooping cough vaccine during pregnancy

Become up-to-date with all other vaccines before getting pregnant

Talk to your healthcare provider

Ask about how you can prevent infections, such as Zika virus

Discuss how to prevent sexually transmitted infections

Prevent insect bites

Use insect repellent

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants

When outside, consider avoiding travel to areas with Zika virus

Practice good hygiene

Wash your hands often with soap and water

Avoid putting a young child’s cup or pacifier in your mouth