How to Prevent Birth Defects

Did you know that January is Birth Defects Prevention month? I just happened to follow doctor’s orders and took my prenatal vitamins with my two pregnancies, even though they made me sick a lot of times. I’m glad I did though because I didn’t realize how important they are in terms of fetal development until our friends at March of Dimes shared with us their data on folic acid.

According to the CDC, 3,000 babies are born in the U.S. every year with neural tube defects, 70% of which could be prevented with the proper doses of B Vitamin folic acid.

These are babies like Isaac Thacker, who is about to celebrate his sixth birthday but who almost didn’t survive being born. Isaac has Spina bifida. He has undergone more than a dozen operations. His mom, Angie shares their heartbreaking story here and she says, “I only wish I had known to be taking folic acid before, rather than just during pregnancy,” she said. “I hope mine and Isaac’s story can help remind women that they should be taking at least 400 mg of folic acid daily at least a year before becoming pregnant.”

Did you know that? According to a March of Dimes survey, only 28% of women 18-45 know that folic acid can prevent birth defects and just 11% know folic acid should be consumed prior to pregnancy.

So even if you’re just thinking of getting pregnant or you know someone who is… please pass along this information. If you are in the St. Louis area, Schnuck’s Markets (with the help of March of Dimes) just began a program in January 2010 to provide free prenatal vitamins to any pregnant woman with a prescription! So please spread the word!

Thank you, friends.


  1. Wow. I am so impressed with Schnucks! That is an amazing program. I remember… those vitamins aren’t cheap! I guess nursing the twins I’m still supposed to be on them… opps. Just taking my regualr multivitamin. Thanks for the post — I’m calling my OB on Monday to make sure I’m getting what I need. 😉

  2. Mainly the problem is environment that we are living, 2nd which probably is a bigger problem that so many young girls delay it in the time. It is much easier for young and healthy woman to have a healthy baby that a woman above 30.