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What are birth defects?

Each year, one in every 33 babies is born with birth defects in the United States. Birth defects are the leading cause of infant deaths. Birth defects are responsible for more than 20% of all infant deaths.

A birth defect happens while the baby is developing in the mother’s body. Most birth defects develop during the first 3 months of pregnancy. A birth defect can affect how the body looks, works, or both.

Most birth defects are found within the first year of life. Others are found using special tests like x-rays, CAT scans, or hearing tests. Some birth defects can cause babies to die. Some babies with birth defects may need surgery or other medical treatment. However, if they receive the help they need, these babies can often lead full lives. 

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Even if you don’t plan to become pregnant, take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid every day!

This will help you prevent brain and spine birth defects in your baby if you ever become pregnant.




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