January is recognized as Birth Defects Prevention month, and it brings awareness to birth defects and highlights the efforts to improve the health of people living with these conditions across their lifespan.

While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are ways to increase the chances of having a healthy baby. There are a few things expectant mothers or women that are planning on having a child could follow: maintain good hygiene, protect themselves against insects and animals, talk to their healthcare provider and get regular checkups, properly prepare food, avoid alcohol and smoking.

Living with a birth defect can be difficult, however doctors and researchers are continually working to discover new treatments to improve the survival and health of babies with birth defects. Recent reports show that rates of infant deaths due to birth defects have declined by 10% in the United States.

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