Posts Tagged ‘planning’

World BD day gets word out globally

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Sick babyThe twitter-sphere was all aglow yesterday for the first-ever World Birth Defects Day. In fact, 6,154,146 people were reached worldwide! Yup. It’s not a typo.

Twelve leading global organizations including the March of Dimes, along with scores of other foundations, hospitals, health care providers, government agencies, parents and individuals with birth defects took to Twitter to raise awareness. People in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, England, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, and individuals from all over the United States participated. As the day progressed, #worldbdday tweets continually popped up on my computer screen. In case you missed it, here is a snapshot of important messages.

Birth defects are surprisingly common

Did you know that every 4 ½ minutes a baby is born with a birth defect in the US?

In the US, about 1 in 5 babies die before their 1st birthday due to birth defects.

Birth defects affect 1 in 33 infants worldwide.

More than 8 million babies worldwide are born each year with a serious birth defect.

There are thousands of different birth defects, and about 70% of the causes are unknown.

The most common birth defects are heart defects, neural tube defects and Down syndrome.

In the US, a baby is born with a congenital heart defect every 15 minutes.

More than 300,000 major birth defects of the brain and spine occur worldwide each year.

Many birth defects are discovered after the baby leaves the hospital or within the 1st year of life.

More than 3.3 million children under 5 years of age die from birth defects each year.

Babies who survive & live with birth defects are at an increased risk for long-term disabilities & lifelong challenges.

Early intervention services may help babies w/ BDs; get your child help by starting early.

Birth defects are costly. Financial and emotional costs of birth defects take a toll on families and communities worldwide.

Learn how to decrease your risk of having a baby with birth defects

Taking folic acid before & early in pregnancy can help to reduce the risk for BDs of the brain & spine.

Smoking during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of certain BDs. It’s never too late to quit.

We can’t prevent all birth defects. We CAN prevent FASD! (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders)

FASDs are 100% preventable.

Alcohol can cause your baby to have BDs (heart, brain & other organs). Don’t drink if you are pregnant or trying to conceive.

Being overweight before pregnancy can increase the risk for some birth defects.

Not all BDs are preventable, but women can take steps toward a healthy pregnancy.

Make a PACT: plan ahead, avoid harmful substances, choose a healthy lifestyle, and talk to your doctor.

Raise awareness

Awareness of birth defects & the importance of care for children with these lifelong conditions is key.

The mission of the March of Dimes is to prevent birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

March of Dimes has invested more than $50 million in birth defects research in the last 5 years.

Genetics has long been a main theme of March of Dimes research.

MOD grantees have discovered genes that cause or contribute to a number of common birth defects, including fragile X syndrome, cleft lip and palate, and heart defects.

These discoveries pave the way for treatments and preventions for these birth defects.


For more information, email See other topics in the series on Delays and Disabilities- How to get help for your child, here.

Fertility treatments: twins, triplets and more

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

The rising number of multiple pregnancies is a concern because women who are expecting more than one baby are at increased risk of certain pregnancy complications, including preterm delivery (before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy). There are a number of steps a pregnant woman and her health care provider can take to help improve the chances that her babies will be born healthy.

To help couples achieve the best outcomes from fertility therapy, the March of Dimes, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine have prepared the paper “Multiple Pregnancy and Birth: Considering Fertility Treatments.”

To download the paper (pdf, 1.1mb), click here.

When things don’t go as planned

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

If you don’t get pregnant right away, don’t worry. Nearly 9 out of 10 couples who try to get pregnant do so within one year. It may not happen immediately, but the odds are it will happen soon.

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, or six months if you’re over 35, talk to your health care provider. You can get tests to find out why you’re having problems getting pregnant. Some women have irregular or infrequent ovulation or damage to the tubes that carry the egg to the womb. Some men have low sperm counts or abnormal sperm. Many couples can overcome these problems with medical treatment.

For more information, read the article our article, Infertility.


When you’re emotionally ready

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

The emotional aspects of parenting can be a real challenge for first time moms and dads.  Before you get pregnant it’s important for you and your partner to discuss your reasons for wanting a baby.  Here’s an easy exercise to help get the conversation started. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Ask yourself why you feel the way you do.

• I think I will be a good parent.

• I like being around children.

• I want to have a baby now.

• I have what it takes to help a child feel loved and wanted.

• I can accept the lifestyle changes that come with starting a family i.e. financial demands, less free time and sleep and more stress.

• My partner and I have a good relationship.

• I would not harm a child physically or emotionally.

• I have support from family and friends.

• I make healthy decisions for myself.

Can you think of any other helpful statements that we can add to this list? What else should a couple take into consideration before having a baby?

Babies need a lot of stuff

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I was thrilled to receive the invitation to my cousin’s baby shower. I went right to the computer and RSVP’d.  Then I pulled up her gift registry. Via ultrasound she was told she was having a girl and consequently registered for every single pink item available in the store. One hundred and seventy four items to be exact. Diaper bag, spit clothes, safety gates, monitors, crib set, car seat, high chair, stroller, teething rings, toys, humidifier, and don’t forget the hooded towels! I started to click away.

On the day of the shower I arrived at my aunt’s house and couldn’t believe the mountain of gifts in the living room. This was all for one kid? It was so much fun to watch her open all of the things she had hoped to get for her baby.  There were a few things I had never seen before. Little gizmos and gadgets for practically every baby need imaginable. All sorts of accessories to enhance motherhood, and not to mention style.

When I got home I quickly glanced around our one bedroom apartment. I took a deep breath, sighed and thought to myself, “babies need a lot of stuff. We have to move.”

Annual check-up

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

A few weeks ago I went for an annual visit with my nurse-midwife, Lucy. Once I told her that my husband and I were thinking about having a baby within a year or so she immediately perked up and asked, “besides an annual, this is a preconception visit”? To which I replied, yes and reminded myself to breathe.

So I had the usual exam, but with an added and lengthy interview about our family medical history, nutrition and exercise. Lucy ordered some extra blood work that would test for immunity to certain childhood illnesses. She wrote a prescription for prenatal vitamins, wished me well and said, “call me when you get pregnant”.

A few days later I received a call. Even though I had the chicken pox as a kid, my blood work showed that my immunity was border line and she recommended that I get the vaccine just to be on the safe side. If a woman catches chickenpox during pregnancy, there can be serious consequences to the baby, depending on when in pregnancy the infection occurs. Experts recommend that a newly vaccinated woman wait at least one month before trying to get pregnant.

If you’re thinking about having a baby now’s the best time to schedule a check-up. Even if you’re not planning to get pregnant right away, it’s never too soon to get yourself in shape for motherhood.