March 3 is World Birth Defects Day, a global event to create awareness about birth defects. Birth defects can cause serious problems in a baby’s health and are a leading cause of death among babies around the world. Every year, about 8 million babies around the world are born with a birth defect. In the U.S., that’s about 1 in 33 babies.
On Wednesday, March 3, March of Dimes will host a global Twitter chat to raise awareness about birth defects with many organizations from around the world. Our team of experts will share tips, resources and information about preventing birth defects. Here’s how you can participate and help us spread the word.
Global Twitter chat event:
March 3 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time
Bilingual in Spanish and English
Find us at these handles: @MarchofDimes, @Nacersano
Use this hashtag to participate: #WorldBDday
You can also use these hashtags: #ManyBirthDefects1Voice, #Best4YouBest4Baby
Reducing the risk for birth defects
Not all birth defects can be prevented. But here are 6 things you can do to help you have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby:
- Get a preconception checkup. This is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy. It can help your health care provider make sure your body is ready for pregnancy.
- Take folic acid before and during pregnancy. Folic acid can help prevent certain birth defects. Take a vitamin supplement with 400 micrograms of folic acid in it every day, even if you’re not trying to get pregnant.
- Tell your provider about any medicines you take before you get pregnant. This includes prescription medicines, over the counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products and supplements. Not all medicines are safe to take during pregnancy. But don’t stop or start taking a medicine without talking to your provider first.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you get pregnant. Having certain infections during pregnancy, such as chickenpox and rubella (also called German measles), can increase the risk for birth defects. Getting vaccinated before pregnancy can protect you and your baby from these infections.
- Don’t drink alcohol, smoke or take drugs during pregnancy. All of these substances can be harmful to your baby. Talk to your health care provider if you need help to quit.
- Get to a healthy weight before pregnancy. Eating healthy and exercising can help you get to a healthy weight.If you are overweight or affected by obesity, losing even a small amount of weight (about 10 to 20 pounds) can improve your health and help you have a healthier pregnancy.
Learn more about birth defects.