Did you know that many birth defects are preventable? Every January, the National Birth Defects Prevention Network makes that message loud and clear by promoting January as Birth Defects Prevention Month. It’s important information to know, since birth defects are:
· Common: 1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect (that’s one baby born with a birth defect every 4½ minutes).
· Costly: Each year, treating birth defects cost $2.6 billion in hospital costs alone.
· Critical: Birth defects are the cause of death for 1 in every 5 infants that pass away before their first birthday.
In the US, about 120,000 babies every year are born with birth defects. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are many things you can do to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. About half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and many birth defects occur before a woman even knows she is pregnant. With that in mind, it’s important that ALL women of childbearing age:
- Take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid—the amount found in a typical multivitamin—every day
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs
- See a health care provider regularly
- Ask a health care provider about any medications (prescription and over-the-counter) medications that might be harmful to their growing baby
Want more folic acid? Folate is the natural form of folic acid that is found in foods. Good sources include fruits (like oranges and orange juice), green leafy vegetables (like spinach and turnip greens), and dried beans and peas. These are foods that rank high in other nutrients, too, so you get even more benefits! Breads, cereals, flour and other grain products have folic acid added to them, so they are also good choices. (For extra nutrition, try to make at least half your grains whole. Look for the word “whole” as the first ingredient on food labels.)
For more information about how you can prevent birth defects, visit:
National Birth Defects Prevention Network
Massachusetts Folic Acid Initiative
Folic Acid for the Future! posted on Jan 18
We all know the common New Year’s resolutions this time of year: losing weight, getting more organized and catching up on sleep are at the top of many people’s lists! But chances are, many women, in particular, are overlooking an important addition to their list: …Continue Reading Folic Acid for the Future!
Weekly Flu Report, January 13, 2017 posted on Jan 13
The latest weekly flu report shows a slight decrease in rates of flu-like illness in Massachusetts over the past 7 days. But flu can be unpredictable, and we’re not likely to see the peak of flu season until February or even March. So if you haven’t gotten a …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, January 13, 2017
Highlights of the January 11th Public Health Council Meeting posted on Jan 11
The first monthly PHC meeting of 2017 featured one Determination of Need (DoN) request, votes on two final amendments to regulations, and an informational briefing on proposed guidelines associated with the Determination of Need program. First, the Council took up a DoN application from Baystate Medical …Continue Reading Highlights of the January 11th Public Health Council Meeting