National Birth Defects Prevention Month is an annual observance in January that aims to raise awareness about birth defects, their causes, and ways to prevent them. Birth defects are structural or functional abnormalities that occur during pregnancy and can affect a baby’s growth and development. They can range from minor to severe and can cause lifelong health problems.
The main goal of National Birth Defects Prevention Month is to educate the public about the importance of early detection and prevention of defects through education, research, and awareness. It’s an opportunity to promote the importance of prenatal care, genetic counseling and testing, and healthy lifestyle choices for pregnant women and their families.
Mama Thrive is dedicated to providing quality healthcare for pregnant women and their families. We understand the importance of ensuring the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. This is why we are committed to providing comprehensive care and services focusing on preventing birth defects. Our telehealth program offers virtual consultations with specialists, remote monitoring, and easy access to medical records, making it easy for pregnant women to stay on top of their health and wellness from the comfort of their homes.
Understanding Birth Defects
Birth defects are structural or functional abnormalities present at birth that can affect a baby’s appearance, organ function, or overall health. Genetic factors, environmental exposure, or a combination of both can cause them. There are many different types of defects, which can be classified into several categories:
- Structural defects
These are physical abnormalities that affect the shape or structure of a baby’s body. Examples include cleft lip or palate, heart defects, and limb malformations.
- Functional defects
These affect the way the body works rather than its appearance. Examples include genetic disorders such as Down syndrome, metabolic disorders, and neural tube defects.
- Chromosomal defects
Abnormal numbers or structures of chromosomes cause defects. Examples include Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, and Klinefelter syndrome.
Some infections during pregnancy can cause defects. Examples include rubella, cytomegalovirus, and toxoplasmosis.
- Multifactorial defects
These are defects that result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Examples include clubfoot, cleft lip and palate, and certain heart defects.
Causes and Risk of Birth Defects
There are many different causes and risk factors for defects. Some of the most common include:
Certain genetic conditions or mutations can increase the risk of defects. For example, Down syndrome is caused by a genetic condition in which there is an extra copy of chromosome 21.
- Environmental factors
Exposure to certain toxins or chemicals, such as lead or pesticides, can increase the risk of birth defects. Additionally, certain infections, such as rubella or cytomegalovirus, during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects.
- Maternal health
Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or thyroid disorders, can increase the risk of birth defects if not properly managed during pregnancy. Additionally, certain medications, such as certain antidepressants, have been associated with an increased risk of birth defects.
- Lifestyle factors
Certain lifestyle factors, such as alcohol or drug use during pregnancy, can increase the risk of birth defects. Additionally, certain lifestyle factors, such as obesity or poor nutrition, can increase the risk of birth defects.
Women who are older when they become pregnant may have a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
It is important to note that many birth defects happen spontaneously, and the cause is unknown in many cases. However, identifying and managing the risk factors can reduce the chance of having a baby with a birth defect.
How Mama Thrive Can Help
Mama Thrive Telehealth’s services can play a significant role in the early detection and prevention of birth defects. Some of the ways they can do this are:
- Early prenatal care
Mama Thrive Telehealth provides virtual prenatal care, allowing pregnant women to receive care from the comfort of their homes. This can help to ensure that women receive the necessary care and screenings early in their pregnancy, which can help detect potential birth defects early on.
- Remote monitoring
Mama Thrive Telehealth’s remote monitoring services can help detect potential problems early on. For example, remote monitoring of maternal and fetal vital signs can help detect potential issues that may indicate a risk of birth defects, such as reduced fetal movement or high blood pressure in the mother.
- Specialized care
Mama Thrive Telehealth provides access to specialists, such as maternal-fetal medicine specialists, genetic counselors, and other specialists who can provide specialized care for women at high risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
Overall, Mama Thrive Telehealth’s services can help ensure that pregnant women receive the necessary care and screenings early in their pregnancy, which can help detect potential birth defects early on and, thus, increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects
- Get early and regular prenatal care
It’s important to start prenatal care as soon as possible and continue receiving regular care throughout your pregnancy. This can help detect potential birth defects early on and ensure that you receive the necessary care to have a healthy pregnancy.
- Eat a healthy diet
Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the risk of birth defects. It’s also important to avoid certain foods, such as raw fish and soft cheeses, that can contain harmful bacteria.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
It’s important to avoid alcohol and drugs, including cigarettes and illegal drugs, during pregnancy, as they can increase the risk of birth defects.
- Manage chronic conditions
If you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes or hypertension, it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to manage it during pregnancy. This can help reduce the risk of birth defects.
- Avoid certain medications
Some medications can increase the risk of birth defects. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you’re taking and whether or not they’re safe to take during pregnancy.
Your First Step Towards A Healthy Pregnancy
If you’re looking for quality healthcare for yourself or a loved one during pregnancy, consider booking an appointment with Mama Thrive. Our telehealth services provide convenient access to specialized care and support to help ensure a healthy pregnancy. To book an appointment or learn more about our services, please visit our website or call us at (904)-714-2810. Don’t wait, take the first step towards a healthy pregnancy today with Mama Thrive.