HOUSTON — January is birth defects prevention month.

The CDC reports one in 33 babies is born with a birth defect each year.

It’s why doctors say, whether or not a woman is trying to get pregnant, anyone of child-bearing age should take precautions.

“That’s the key: prenatal awareness and modifying risk factors,” says Dr. Diana Racusin.

Dr. Racusin is with UT Physicians and specializes in high-risk pregnancies.

She says while the majority of pregnancies produce healthy babies, 2 to 3 percent of live births each year in the United States, are affected by birth defects or congenital anomalies.

“Unless you’ve had your tubes tied, I recommend any woman takes a prenatal vitamin or a folic acid supplement.”


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Dr. Racusin says even if getting pregnant isn’t an immediate plan, it’s important to get a check-up every year and go over existing health conditions and medications with your doctor.

And if a woman is trying to have a baby, getting to a healthy weight is important.

“Women that are diabetic are at an increased risk for babies with heart defects, brain.”

Common birth defects include congenital heart defects, cleft lip, and spina bifida.

Screenings and blood tests can often detect these issues or genetic abnormalities.


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