Lifestyle changes can reduce risk of birth defects


About 1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. These abnormalities in the structure, function or metabolism of a baby’s body range from mild to severe and can lead to developmental or physical disabilities. Some of the most common are congenital heart defects, affecting about 1 in every 100 babies.

“The heart forms in the early weeks of pregnancy, and many things such as diet, life-style choices, environmental factors, health conditions and medications can play a role in congenital heart defects,” said Connie Motter, an Akron Children’s Hospital genetic counselor.

To help ensure a healthy pregnancy, every woman who is pregnant or considering becoming pregnant should take these steps to help prevent birth defects:

While birth defects remain the leading cause of death in the first year of a baby’s life, accounting for 1 of every 5 infant deaths, many defects can be successfully detected and treated before or after birth.

Call the Akron Children's Hospital's Fetal Treatment Center for more information at 330-543-4500.

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Diet, lifestyle choices can reduce risk of birth defects

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