Skip Navigation LinksSkip Navigation Links
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Safer Healthier People
Blue White
Blue White
bottom curve
CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z spacer spacer
spacer
Blue curve MMWR spacer
spacer
spacer

The content, links, and pdfs are no longer maintained and might be outdated.

  • The content on this page is being archived for historic and reference purposes only.
  • For current, updated information see the MMWR website.

National Birth Defects Prevention Month and Folic Acid Awareness Week

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Birth defects affect approximately one in 33 newborns and are a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States (1). Lifetime care for all infants born in a single year with one or more of 17 severe birth defects has been estimated at $6 billion (2).

This year, the focus is on obesity prevention and weight management before, during, and after pregnancy. Maternal obesity has been linked to certain birth defects (e.g., neural tube defects) (3). Health-care professionals should encourage women to reach a healthy weight before pregnancy to reduce their infant's risk for birth defects.

January 5--11 is National Folic Acid Awareness Week. Consuming 400 µg of folic acid daily, before and during early pregnancy, will help reduce a woman's risk for pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect (4). Health-care professionals should encourage women who can become pregnant to consume folic acid daily through a vitamin supplement or enriched foods. Additional information regarding prevention of birth defects is available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd.

References

  1. Hoyert DL, Mathews TJ, Menacker F, et al. Annual summary of vital statistics: 2004. Pediatrics 2006;117:168--83.
  2. CDC. Economic costs of birth defects and cerebral palsy---United States, 1992. MMWR 1995;44:694--9.
  3. Rasmussen SA, Chu SY, Kim SY, Schmid CH, Lau J. Maternal obesity and risk of neural tube defects: a metaanalysis. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2008;198:611--9.
  4. CDC. Recommendations for the use of folic acid to reduce the number of cases of spina bifida and other neural tube defects. MMWR 1992;41(No. RR-14).

Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.

All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from typeset documents. This conversion might result in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users are referred to the electronic PDF version (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr) and/or the original MMWR paper copy for printable versions of official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.

**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to mmwrq@cdc.gov.

Date last reviewed: 1/7/2009

HOME  |  ABOUT MMWR  |  MMWR SEARCH  |  DOWNLOADS  |  RSSCONTACT
POLICY  |  DISCLAIMER  |  ACCESSIBILITY

Safer, Healthier People

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd, MailStop E-90, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A

USA.GovDHHS

Department of Health
and Human Services