Mark's News | January Is National Birth Defect Prevention Month
As an alderman, mayor, and now as County Board Chairman, Mark is fighting hard to bring quality jobs to St. Clair County. Mark has always ensured that the citizens of St. Clair County have a strong voice in the political process. Mark is dedicated to making our community a great place to raise a family and build a business.
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January Is National Birth Defect Prevention Month

January Is National Birth Defect Prevention Month

baby-surpriseEvery 4-5 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 1 in 33 babies are born with birth defects which are often a leading cause of infant death, according to the CDC. Preventing birth defects awareness if a priority program for the St. Clair County Health Department. To that end, the Health Department offers genetic screenings to pregnant women through an Illinois Department of Public Health grant. “Every pregnant woman, who is enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program gets screened for the risk of birth defects,” said Carmoleta Youck, the Community Services Nursing Manager for the St. Clair County Health Department. “If there is a risk for birth defects, the program pays for one visit to a genetic counselor.” 

Birth defects occur before a baby is born. Most birth defects occur in the first three months of pregnancy, when the organs of a baby are forming. However, some birth defects occur later in pregnancy. During the last six months of pregnancy, the tissues and organs continue to grow and develop, according to the CDC. Factors that contribute to birth defects include genes, behaviors and things in the environment. According to the Adverse Pregnancy Reporting System (APORS), which collects information on Illinois infants born with birth defects, almost 500 babies are born daily in Illinois. Of those, 35 will be reported to APORS and 20 will have birth defects.

While not all birth defects can be prevented, the CDC suggests that there are things a woman can do to in- crease chances of having a healthy baby:

  • Take 400 mcg of folic acid every day, starting at least one month before getting pregnant Don’t drink alcohol or smoke
  • Talk to your health care provider about taking any medications, including prescription and over-the- counter medications and dietary or herbal supplements
  • Learn how to prevent infections during pregnancy
  • If possible, be sure any medical conditions are under control, before becoming pregnant


For more information about the St. Clair County Health Department screening program and to determine eli- gibility, call 618-825-4485. For more information about the Health Department services and programs, visit our website.

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