American Pregnancy Association Provides Tips for Women and Employers to Help Prevent Birth Defects
Outreach Begins in January During National Birth Defects Prevention Month
LAS COLINAS, TX -- 01/04/2005 -- In recognition of National Birth Defects Prevention month this January, the American Pregnancy Association (APA), will highlight steps for women and employers to take to reduce the risk for birth defects like spina bifida, anencephaly, and fetal alcohol syndrome at www.americanpregnancy.org.
The outreach comes during National Birth Defects Prevention Month and the Association hopes their education effort will help reduce the more than 150,000 American children who are born with birth defects every year. Although the causes for more than 60% of birth defects are not known, APA President Dr. Brad Imler, Ph.D. says there are simple steps a woman can take to help reduce her baby’s risk for birth defects:
1. Women considering pregnancy should schedule a preconception visit with their healthcare provider to assess reproductive wellness, family history and medical conditions.
2. Vaccinations for chicken pox or rubella may be considered to help prevent birth defects.
3. Women in the reproductive ages of 15 to 42 should take the recommended daily dose of 400 micrograms of B vitamin folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
4. Women who discover they are pregnant should begin taking at least 400 micrograms of folic acid each day.
5. The March of Dimes recommends that pregnant women avoid alcohol, smoking, and illicit drugs throughout pregnancy, and to contact their healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter, herbal or prescription medications.
6. Genetic counseling and screening is available for all couples and recommended for couples that possess family history or other birth defect risk factors.
Birth defects touch every employer whether it is personally, an employee, or one of its valued customers. Dr. Imler has also outlined steps for employers to help reduce the occurrence of birth defects in their communities.
1. Provide wellness education through benefits programs.
2. Inform customers about the importance of birth defect prevention.
3. Give access to health resources with links on the website and listings in the benefits directory.
4. Make reproductive and other wellness brochures available to employees.
5. Add annual wellness screenings into the corporate benefits.
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