On this page:
- January is Birth Defects Prevention Month
- January 2013 Awareness: Birth Defects, Folic Acid, Thyroid, Cervical Health
- ECHO's New Program on Prenatal Health
- The USPSTF recommends supplement containing 0.4 to 0.8 mg of folic acid — May 2009
- Birth Defects Program 2009 Annual Report — September 2010
Awareness Month: January 2013
The following list of health observances details topics that are of particular relevance for prevention and management of birth defects. For a list of all national health observances, please see: http://www.healthfinder.gov/NHO/.
Attention: Some links listed below take you outside the Minnesota Department of Health Website.
National Birth Defects Prevention Month 2013
Birth defects are common, costly, critical-- January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. This year the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is focusing on helping health professionals and the public take positive steps to reduce the risks of birth defects. We encourage all women who can become pregnant or are pregnant to lower their risk of having a baby with a birth defect by following some basic health guidelines throughout their reproductive years. January is Birth Defects Prevention Month.
National Folic Acid Awareness Week, January 6-12, 2013
“Folic acid is a B-vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. If taken before and during early pregnancy from a multi-vitamin or fortified foods, folic acid can prevent from 50% up to 70% of some forms of serious birth defects of the brain and spine. Experts recommend that women who could possibly become pregnant should take 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid daily, from:
- fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals,
- daily multi-vitamin, and
- eat a variety of foods as part of a healthy diet.
The easiest way to be sure to get the recommended daily amount of folic acid is to take a multi-vitamin every day.” (Source: NCFA, 2012).
- National Council on Folic Acid
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- March of Dimes
- Spina Bifida Association
- Spina Bifida Association Video and Grain Foods Foundation Video on importance of Folic Acid
Thyroid Awareness Month
Thyroid function is an important metabolic process that can impact pregnancy health. Millions of people, mostly women, may have undiagnosed thyroid disorders. It is important for women who may become pregnant to discuss all health concerns with a medical provider.
Cervical Health Awareness Month
It is important for women who may become pregnant to maintain a healthy reproductive system, and to discuss reproductive-related screenings and services with their medical providers.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has updated its 1996 recommendation that all women planning or capable of pregnancy take a daily supplement containing 0.4 to 0.8 mg (400 to 800 µg) of folic acid. (A recommendation) The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on folic acid supplementation in women of childbearing age published since its previous review. The USPSTF did not review evidence on folic acid food fortification, counseling to increase dietary intake or screening for neural tube defects.
ECHO's New Program on Prenatal Health
Being healthy while pregnant is the first step to having a healthy family. That's why it is important to focus on your health while you are pregnant. To learn more about how have a healthy pregnancy and delivery watch ECHO Minnesota's new program, "Prenatal Health."
In this program, community members, experts, and ECHO hosts come together to share important information about the best way to care for babies and mothers during pregnancy.
This program is also available in four languages with English captions for the deaf and hard of hearing at http://www.echominnesota.org/library/prenatal-health.
The Minnesota Department of Health Birth Defects program has recently released it's annual report for the 2009 program year. The report provides information about how birth defects data is collected and gives an update on the Birth Defects program activities for 2009. View the 2009 Birth Defects Program Annual Report (PDF: 343KB/30 pages)