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Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Raises Awareness On Birth Defects

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic Raises Awareness on Birth Defects

OKLAHOMA CITY- Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants to remind Oklahomans that making healthy choices during pregnancy can reduce the chance of birth defects.

January is birth defects awareness month. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of 33 babies born in the United States will have a birth defect, meaning nearly 120,000 babies are affected each year.

Birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part of the body. They may affect how the body works, looks or both. Birth defects are common and are present in babies anytime before, during, or after birth or pregnancy. Most are found within the first year of life.

“Our patients need to be aware of their health during pregnancy,” Ashton Gatewood said, Director of Public Health at OKCIC. “Putting healthy foods and vitamins in the body while avoiding harmful substances can prevent some birth defects in a child.”

According to a CDC study, American Indians have a higher occurrence of having a child with specific birth defects, primarily because of lack of prenatal care and an unhealthy lifestyle. OKCIC aims to provide awareness and prevention methods to expecting mothers.

OKCIC offers these tips to increase the likelihood of a healthy baby:

  • See a health care provider regularly and speak to them about your vaccinations
  • Get enough folic acid
  • Avoid alcohol and other harmful substances, including cigarettes and drugs
  • Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) to reduce the chances of your child contracting a disease
  • Prevent infections by washing your hands often and avoiding people with an infection
  • Avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses
  • Avoid rodents and animal feces, including litter boxes

OKCIC patients receive group and individual prenatal care education with Eagles Nest Prenatal Program. This four week course offers expecting mothers and families education on prenatal and dental health, family unit and breastfeeding, preparation for birth, and newborn care and safety.

“The goal of our prenatal programs is to reduce the risk of preterm births and improve healthy outcomes for mom and baby,” Robyn Sunday-Allen said, CEO of OKCIC.

About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic

Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and  wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 18,000 patients from over 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please call (405) 948-4900 or visit www.okcic.com.

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