January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, one in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. There are many people who do not think that a birth defect could happen to their baby, but it can and does happen in any family. Each year in the United States, about 120,000 babies are born with some type of birth defect. If you are pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, now is the time to make healthier choices for you and your baby.

One of the focuses of Birth Defect Prevention Month is on alcohol use during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to birth defects that fall under a variety of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). These can affect physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning development and may have lifelong implications for your child.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are the only birth defects that are 100% preventable! Prenatal exposure to alcohol is the leading cause of preventable birth defects, mental retardation, learning disabilities, attention deficits, and behavior disorders. Protect your baby’s future by choosing not to have any alcohol during pregnancy.

Here are some other ways to ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby*:

• Take a vitamin that contains folic acid every day.

• Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

• Keep hands clean.

• See a health care professional regularly.

• Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

• Get early prenatal care and go to every appointment.

More information about FASD can be found in the lobby of the Montgomery County Administration Building at 451 W Third Street, Dayton 45422. There is a display dedicated to the prevention of birth defects, particularly defects caused by alcohol consumption. Feel free to visit the display and take any handouts, folders, and/or development wheels.

For more information, contact the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board for Montgomery County at (937) 443-0416 or visit http://www.adamhs.co.montgomery.oh.us.

*National Birth Defect Prevention Network

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