Birth Defects

Birth defects are a leading cause of infant and childhood death, illness and disability. In Washtenaw County, 499 children born in 2004 were reported to the Michigan Birth Defects Registry.

Can birth defects be prevented?

Although many birth defects cannot be prevented, consuming 400mcg of folic acid every day before conception and during early pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (problem with the spinal cord or brain).

What is the most common birth defect in Washtenaw County?

Cardiac birth defects (problems with the heart) are the most frequently reported type of defect in Washtenaw County.  More information on cardiac defects.

Information on other birth defects in Washtenaw County:

What you should know if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant:

  • See your health care provider before you get pregant or as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
  • Get medical conditions under control. Important conditions to control include obesity, diabetes, and seizures.
  • Take a vitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before and during pregnancy.
  • Take care of yourself by getting plenty of rest, exercising moderately and eating a well-balanced diet.
  • Avoid contact with chemicals that may harm and unborn baby.
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and street drugs, and talk with your health care provider before taking any over-the counter-drugs.

Additional resources

Page updated 3/27/08

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