CDC: Birth defects leading cause of death among infants - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

CDC: Birth defects leading cause of death among infants

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COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

No parent ever wants to think their baby could be born any way but perfect, but statistics show about one in 33 babies is born with a defect.

Birth defects are a leading cause of infant death, and according to the CDC they account for more than one of every five infant deaths.

"Anytime a patient is thinking about getting pregnant, they probably should have some pre-conceptual counseling," said Columbus Regional Ob/Gyn Kendall M. Handy, MD. "They should talk to their obstetrician, gynecologist, or family physician and let them know, 'I'm planning to have a baby this year'."

Because most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancym Dr. Handy of Midtown Medical Center said planning ahead can increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

At least one month before conception, add Folic Acid to your diet.

"That helps to reduce that patient's infant from having a Neural tube defect, which is a spinal defect," said Dr. Handy.

If you have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, it's important to get your blood sugar stabilized before getting pregnant and keeping it under control especially, during the first trimester. 

"During that first three months if your blood sugar is extremely high, then that can increase your risk for having an infant that has some structural abnormalities," Dr. Handy explained.

 Dr. Handy said at least half of all pregnancies are unplanned.

"Everyone should have a detailed look at the anatomy on the baby around 18 to 20 weeks," said Midtown Medical Center Perinatologist Robert L. Jacobson, M.D.

Dr. Jacobson spent years working with high-risk pregnancies. He said getting screened for birth defects is essential to a healthy pregnancy. 

"Because two to three percent of the general population is going to have a baby with a major birth defect," Dr. Jacobson explained.

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