Children With Special Health Care NeedsPhone:(801)584-8284 TollFree:(800)829-8200

Pictures of children with birth defects, before and after.

National Birth Defect Prevention Month

Birth Defects are common, costly, and critical. Boy in wheelchair

The Utah Department of Health (UDOH) seeks to prevent birth defects and secondary disabilities by monitoring occurrence, conducting research, providing education and outreach.

Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States, are a leading cause of infant mortality, and costs $2.6 billion per year in hospital costs.

Babies who survive and live with birth defects are at increased risk for developing many lifelong physical, cognitive, and social challenges. Medical care and support services only scrape the surface of the financial and emotional impact of living with serious birth defects. Birth defects come in all shapes and sizes, and there are literally hundreds of types of birth defects. Common examples include Down syndrome, cleft lip and palate, and heart defects.

We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by doing what you can to be your healthiest self both before and during pregnancy. What is best for you is also best for your baby.

Best for You. Best for Baby.

5 Tips for Preventing Birth Defects

  1. Be sure to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.
  2. Book a visit with your healthcare provider before stopping or starting any medicine.
  3. Become up-to-date with all vaccines, including the flu shot.
  4. Before you get pregnant, try to reach a healthy weight.
  5. Boost your health by avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy, such as alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.

Prevent to Protect

Healthy women have healthier babies! Not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are some keys to reducing the risk. Women of child bearing age can reduce their risk by:

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