Friday, January 23, 2015

National Birth Defects Prevention Awareness Month

2015: Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects - Make a PACT for Prevention

Birth defects affect one in every 33 babies born in the United States and are a leading cause of infant mortality. Babies who survive and live with birth defects are at increased risk for developing many lifelong physical, cognitive, and social challenges. Medical care and support services only scrape the surface of the financial and emotional impact of living with birth defects.

Each year, the month of January is designated National Birth Defects Prevention Awareness Month. This annual campaign is promoted by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and throughout Ohio. The network assesses the impact of birth defects upon children, families, and health care; identifies factors that can be used to develop prevention strategies; and assists families and their providers in secondary disabilities.

The theme for 2015 National Birth Defects Prevention Month is "Making Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects-Make a PACT for Prevention." NBDPN's goal for 2015 is to continue to increase awareness that birth defects are "Common, Costly and Critical" and to offer actionable steps that can be taken by professionals, community groups, and the public to prevent birth defects.

Here in Darke County, Help Me Grow offers services that help with prevention and offer individuals an opportunity to earn needed items for their baby. The services are for pregnant first time moms or moms with infants up to age three. To take advantage of this program a new mom must enter the program during her prenatal period or before the new baby reaches 6 months of age. The program helps educate individuals on topics that are of interest to pregnant moms and new moms. It also provides community resource education. Some examples of items that can be earned from being part of the program are cribs, pack n plays, bassinets, toddler beds, car seats, swings, boosters, baby food, bottles, and diapers.

The goals of the program are to increase healthy pregnancies, improve parenting confidence and competence, and improve child health, development, and school readiness.

To sign up for this program call the Health Department Help Me Grow Program at (937) 547-9392.

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