1. Did you know that birth defects are common?
Fact: Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies every year and cause 1 in 5 infant deaths. For many babies born with a birth defect, there is no family history of the condition.
2. Did you know that a woman should take folic acid during her teens and throughout her life?
Fact: Because half of all pregnancies in the United States are not planned, all women who can become pregnant should take a vitamin with folic acid every day. Folic acid helps a baby’s brain and spine develop very early in the first month of pregnancy when a woman might not know she is pregnant.
3. Did you know that many birth defects are diagnosed after a baby leaves the hospital?
Fact: Many birth defects are not found immediately at birth. A birth defect can affect how the body looks, how it works, or both. Some birth defects like cleft lip or spina bifida are easy to see. Others, like heart defects, are not.
4. Did you know that some birth defects can be diagnosed before birth?
Fact: Tests like an ultrasound and amniocentesis can detect birth defects such as spina bifida, heart defects, or Down syndrome before a baby is born. Prenatal care and screening are important because early diagnosis allows families to make decisions and plan for the future.
5. Did you know that birth defects can greatly affect the finances not only of the families involved, but of everyone?
Fact: In the United States, birth defects have accounted for over 139,000 hospital stays during a single year, resulting in $2.6 billion in hospital costs alone. Families and the government share the burden of these costs. Additional costs due to lost wages or occupational limitations can affect families as well.