January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. Birth defects, or congenital anomalies, affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the United States and are a leading cause of babies dying. Infants 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 needs for those living with birth defects. Birth defects come in all shapes and sizes, and there are literally hundreds of types of birth defects. Common examples include Down syndrome, cleft lip and palate, and heart defects.

Birth Defects are:

  • Common: One in 33 U.S. babies is born with a major birth defect each year.
  • Costly: The yearly hospital costs for birth defects exceed $2.6 billion.
  • Critical: 1 in 5 infant deaths is due to birth defects, making them a leading cause of infant mortality.
Birth Defects Prevention Month Infographics


Healthy women have healthier babies! Not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are some keys to reducing the risk. Women of child bearing age can reduce their risk by: