January 2016: Birth Defects Awareness Month

WHEREAS, every 4 and a half minutes, a baby is born in the United States with a birth defect.  Birth defects are a leading cause of death in the first year of life, causing one in every five infant deaths. In Michigan, birth defects account for about 275 infant deaths every year; and,

WHEREAS, birth defects can occur in any family regardless of race, ethnicity, health history, economic status, or level of education; 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, about half of all pregnancies are unplanned, contributing to late entry into prenatal care and presenting a barrier to optimal pregnancy management; and,

WHEREAS, managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before becoming pregnant helps increase a woman’s chance of having a healthy baby.  The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services encourages parents-to-be to make a PACT for prevention to help reduce their risk for birth defects by taking these steps: Planning ahead for pregnancy, Avoiding harmful substances, Choosing a healthy lifestyle, and Talking to a healthcare provider before and during pregnancy; and,

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

WHEREAS, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services joins with the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 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 2016 as Birth Defects Awareness Month in Michigan.