Affinity Health Plan

  • January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

    January 22, 2016
    Did You Know...
    • Every 4 ½ minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States.
    • Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies every year and cause 1 in 5 infant deaths.
    • For many babies born with a birth defect, there is no family history of the condition.
    • Some birth defects can be diagnosed before birth.

    All women who can become pregnant should take 400-800 micrograms (mcg) dose of folic acid every day. Folic acid helps a baby’s brain and spine develop very early in the first month of pregnancy when a woman might not know she is pregnant.

    What else can I do to help prevent birth defects?
    • Have regular medical checkups
    • Discuss all medications used (prescription and over-the-counter)
    • Make sure medical conditions, such as diabetes, are under control
    • Have tests for infectious diseases and get necessary vaccinations
    • Do not use cigarettes, alcohol or other drugs
    • Eat a healthy diet and be physically active
    How can I prevent my unborn baby from getting an infection?

    Wash your hands!

    A pregnant woman can keep her unborn baby safe from infections, by washing her hands often, especially after using the bathroom. Other examples include touching raw meat, uncooked eggs, or unwashed vegetables, handling pets, pardoning, or caring for small children.

    Is it safe to drink alcohol during pregnancy?

    No amount of alcohol is safe to drink during pregnancy.

    Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) can occur in babies whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning which can last a lifetime. FASDs are 100% preventable if a woman does not drink alcohol while pregnant.

    A word from Dr. Sharon Deans, Chief Medical Officer at Affinity Health Plan:

    There is a lot you can do to protect against Birth Defects. Talk with your doctor if you are thinking of getting pregnant. Take folic acid, maintain healthy habits and keep your recommended pre natal check-ups.

    To learn more:

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Birth Defects

    CDC Preconception Health


    March of Dimes Eating and Nutrition During Pregnancy

    New York State Smokers’ Quitline

    Depression During & After Pregnancy: A Resource for Women, Their Families, & Friends

    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN).

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