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Beyond the Data

Beyond the Data brings you “take home” messages for you to use in your practice, in your classroom and in your home.

January 2015

Beyond the Data -- Understanding the Causes of Major Birth Defects: Steps to Prevention

Dr. John Iskander and Dr. Allen Mitchell discuss some of the public health advances in preventing birth defects. Birth defects are common, occurring in 1 in 33 pregnancies and affecting 120,000 babies born each year. While the vast majority of their causes remain unknown, there is much that public health workers and individuals can do to reduce the risk of birth defects.

Public health workers must continue to:

  • Identify genetic and environmental causes of birth defects,
  • Monitor medications that may increase or decrease risk to pregnant women and
  • Implement simple interventions that may help to reduce risk.

Individuals must:

  • Manage pre-pregnancy obesity,
  • Control blood sugar and diabetes and
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Page last reviewed: January 22, 2015
  • Page last updated: January 22, 2015
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