National Birth Defects Prevention Month – brought to you by CuddleBugs

February 1, 2012

Myth or Fact:  Some heart defects can be detected before birth.
This is a fact. Due to advancements, some heart defects can be identified before birth, making it easier to plan for the future.
Source: National Birth Defects Prevention Network

Prevention is the topic of the month, and our CuddleBugs program is sharing guidelines about this very important topic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, congenital heart defects are the most prevalent amongst newborns and are a leading cause of death within the child’s first year of life.

Congenital heart defects affect the development of the baby’s heart and how it works. The good news is that new ways of preventing and treating birth defects are being discovered every day.

What can you do?

Expectant mothers can do their part by:

  • Eating right and exercising
  • Drinking extra fluids, especially water
  • Getting enough sleep (aim for 7 to 9 hours per night)
  • Setting limits in your life to manage stress
  • Getting a flu shot
  • Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy

Additionally, consistent and quality prenatal care is a necessity for expectant mothers. Health care providers stress the importance of increased folic acid intake both prior to and during pregnancy.

“Taking a folic acid supplement, often found in your prenatal vitamins, goes a long way in facilitating your baby’s growth and development while in the womb,” said Cris Glick, MD, Neonatologist with The Newborn Associates.  “Regarding dosage, at least 400 micrograms is recommended, which can be obtained from fortified foods, supplements or a combination of both.”

The National Council on Folic Acid (NCFA) lists leafy green vegetables, such as spinach, broccoli and lettuce as excellent sources of folic acid. Additionally, they recommend regularly consuming beans, peas, lentils, bananas and melons. You can also find enriched or fortified cereals, breads and juices. Simply check the nutritional labels for folic acid.

Overall, the best way to prepare for your baby’s health is by making sure you start with your own.

About CuddleBugs

CuddleBugs is a free program designed to provide answers to new and expectant moms from the earliest stages of pregnancy through post-delivery – including guidance for newborn care.  For more information about CuddleBugs, visit

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Remember that this information is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, but rather to increase awareness and help equip patients with information and facilitate conversations with your physician that will benefit your health.

For more information:
Sharee Lucius
Director of Marketing
Woman’s Hospital