November 2014 – January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

Birth defects are common, costly and critical conditions. Did you know that, every 4 ½ minutes, a babyNational Birth Defects Prevention Month is born in the United States with a major birth defect, such as cleft lip or spina bifida? Each year, CDC joins many organizations to recognize January as National Birth Defects Prevention Month. This year’s theme is “Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects – Make a PACT for Prevention.” Although not all birth defects can be prevented, actions can be taken to increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby. This year we are encouraging all pregnant women and those who may become pregnant to:

Plan ahead
Avoid harmful substances
Choose a healthy lifestyle
Talk to your doctor

Become an active participant in National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and join a nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes and their impact.

National Birth Defects Prevention Network Educational & Promotional Materials

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network, in collaboration with CDC, have created a toolkit to promote birth defects awareness and prevention. This toolkit contains sample news releases, materials for local public health departments, education materials, and a fact sheet for policy makers. This toolkit is freely available through the National Birth Defects Prevention Network’s website at http://www.nbdpn.org/bdpm2015.php.

 National Birth Defects Prevention Month Tweet-Up and Social Media Buttons

Throughout the month of January, CDC will be sharing a fact a day on Twitter to raise awareness of birth defects. Each daily fact will be marked by the hashtag: #1in33. We encourage you to participate by following and re-tweeting facts. In addition, we have created buttons of various sizes to increase awareness of birth defects. You can help by posting a button to your website, blog, or social networking site. These buttons are available at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/multimedia.html.

CDC Web Features

A series of web features will be posted on the CDC website this month: http://www.cdc.gov/features.  The first one, in honor of National Folic Acid Awareness Week, highlights the importance of consuming 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before and during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Check back each week to see new features encouraging readers to make a PACT for birth defects prevention.

CDC Public Health Grand Rounds

CDC features monthly Public Health Grand Rounds. Public Health Grand Rounds are webcasts created to foster discussion on major public health issues. On January 20, 2015, CDC will debut a session titled “Understanding the Causes of Major Birth Defects: Steps to Prevention.” For more information on CDC Public Health Grand Rounds and upcoming session topics please visit http://www.cdc.gov/cdcgrandrounds/.

Once more, we encourage all women to make a PACT for prevention by Planning ahead, Avoiding harmful substances, Choosing a healthy lifestyle and Talking to your doctor. Please visit the NCBDDD’s birth defects website at www.cdc.gov/birthdefects for more information, including the latest research, data & statistics, podcasts, and more!

Thank you in advance for your support in promoting January 2015 as National Birth Defects Prevention Month.

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