Oklahoma City Indian Clinic promotes awareness to keep mother and baby healthy during National Birth Defects Prevention Month.
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 share ways to reduce the risk of birth defects during National Birth Defects Prevention Month.
National Birth Defects Prevention Month is observed every January to bring awareness to the prevalence of birth defects and ways they can be prevented. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every 33 babies born in the United States each year has a birth defect.
“A birth defect can occur during any stage of pregnancy and can be caused by a variety of factors, such as substance use, medical conditions or family history,” said Janice Hixson, OKCIC’s Chief Medical Officer. “Not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are steps the mother can take during pregnancy to reduce the risk.”
Mothers can take steps to prevent birth defects before becoming pregnant. If you plan to become pregnant, take 400 mcg of folic acid every day. If possible, try to get any medical conditions under control before becoming pregnant. Some conditions, like diabetes, can increase the risk of birth defects. If you’re taking any medications, talk with your provider to see if they are safe to continue during pregnancy. This includes any over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements.
Ways to reduce the risk of birth defects during pregnancy include abstaining from smoking, drinking, drug use and avoiding infections. To avoid infections, be sure your vaccinations are up-to-date and wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. You can avoid food-borne illnesses by not consuming raw or unpasteurized milk and foods made from it.
“Seeking prenatal care as soon as possible is important for preventing birth defects,” Hixson said. “Your provider can make sure you and your baby are healthy.”
OKCIC patients can call (405) 948-4900 ext. 546 to make an appointment for prenatal care.
Birth defects can’t always be prevented, but forming healthy habits can improve your overall health and reduce the risk for your baby.
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 21,000 patients from over 220 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.