January is birth defects prevention month so if you're a mama planning a baby soon or a mama who is...
January is birth defects prevention month so if you're a mama planning a baby soon or a mama who is preggers now, it's smart to take a look at some of the facts about birth defects. First up, the basics of baby birth defects. What is a birth defect? Birth defects can be as simple as a missing or extra finger or super serious such as a heart or brain defect. Basically, a birth defect is any abnormal conditions that happen before or at the time of a baby's birth. Birth defects can cause mental, physical, or medical problems (or two of the former or all three). Some birth defects are genetic and others are caused by medications, chemicals, trauma or another unknown source (many birth defects are considered a mystery) . How common are birth defects? According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), "One in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. About 120,000 babies in the U.S. each year have birth defects and birth defects are the leading cause of death in children less than one year of age" and cause one in every five infant deaths. About 18 babies die each day in the U.S. due to birth defects with defects of the heart and limbs coming in first as the most common birth defects. Birth defects not only cause heartache for parents but millions of dollars are spent every year for the care and treatment of children with birth defects. Of course not all birth defects are preventable but many are; coming up we'll look at some of the steps you can take to help prevent birth defects.

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