January 2014: Birth Defects Prevention Month

WHEREAS, every four and a half minutes a baby is born in the United States with a birth defect and birth defects are a leading cause of death in the first year of life; and,

WHEREAS¸ birth defects cause one in every five infant deaths and lead to $2.6 billion per year in hospital costs alone in the United States, and in Michigan, birth defects account for about 18 percent of infant deaths every year; and,

WHEREAS, birth defects can occur in any family regardless of race, health history, economic status, or level of education; while about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, contributing to late entry into prenatal care and posing a barrier to optimal pregnancy management, particularly during the crucial early weeks of embryonic development; and,

WHEREAS, early identification of a child with a birth defect coupled with early intervention services typically improves the child’s quality of life and may even save his or her life; and,

WHEREAS, strategies to prevent birth defects include taking a multivitamin with folic acid daily, avoiding alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy, learning about family history and genetic risks, and managing maternal medical conditions while minimizing unnecessary medication exposure in pregnancy; and,

WHEREAS, the good health and well-being of the people of Michigan are enhanced by the support of a national effort to educate about and prevent birth defects; and,

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Michigan Birth Defects Program join with the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, as well as many dedicated volunteers, healthcare professionals, and parent groups by participating in this promotion;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim January 2014 as Birth Defects Prevention Month in Michigan.