1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect in the United S - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect in the United States

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AKRON, Ohio - Birth defects are common, costly and critical. 

Affecting one in every 33 babies born in the United States, birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality.

"We can't prevent all birth defects.  We know that, but there are steps that women can take to reduce their chances of having a baby with a birth defect," said certified genetic counselor Connie Motter with Akron Children's Hospital Mahoning Valley.

Those steps should include:

  • Taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid
  • Talking to your doctor about the medications you're taking, the health conditions you have and your family history
  • Eating healthy foods and exercising
  • Avoiding elicit drugs, smoking, exposure to second hand smoke and drinking
  • Avoiding toxic substances at home and work
  • Protecting yourself from domestic violence   

"It is critical because it's not just the health of the mother during pregnancy or right before pregnancy that's important, but it's the health of the mother throughout her life course leading up to a pregnancy that effects not only her health, but the health of her future children," said Motter.

Despite the fact babies are born every couple of minutes with birth defects, Motter says most infants are born healthy. 

Genetic counselors can help families understand any risks that could contribute to birth defects.  Ultrasounds are also able to identify them in-utero.  Some birth defects, like cognitive defects, won't be apparent until a child has grown and developed. 

Motter says once a birth defect has been identified, doctors can intervene.

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