National Birth Defects Awareness Month

January 2022


We know that not all birth defects* can be prevented. We also know that you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by doing what you can to be your healthiest self both before and during pregnancy.

As part of our new awareness efforts, NBDPN would like to recognize that systemic barriers can create gaps in access to the recommended care in our prevention tips. So, we aim to reinforce these prevention tips by sparking more actions and conversations in your local communities to identify, or build, more resources for successful pregnancies!

Importantly, we would like to clarify that this theme is focused on the preparation stages of your journey into parenthood. Many of these conditions extend across the lifespan and our CDC partners highlight more  awareness on what continued success can look like for people living with birth defects.

Click above to download all 2022 resources

Click HERE to download the 2022 infographics

5 Prevention Tips for Healthy Communities and Healthy Babies

Click on the each of the 5 tips to see the actions that can be taken on by individuals and by community organizers. When done together, these recommendations complement each other to bridge some of the gaps in access to resources to create Healthy Communities for Healthy Babies.

Each infographic is linked to a short PDF containing more information for the associated tip. As you read through each tip, look for the related resources in your state/area on our Tips Resource Map below!

Folic acid is very important because when taken before and during early pregnancy, it can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby‘s brain and spine. Our bodies use this B vitamin to make new cells.

Free vitamins containing folic acid are available in most states. Zoom in on your state in our Tips Resource Map below to get more information or Tweet @NBDPN with other sources of Folic Acid you have used before!

Thinking about pregnancy? Be sure to talk to you healthcare provider about the following topics at your next visit: MedicationsFamily medical history, Regular prenatal care, and Mental health.

If you and your family need additional support, ask your doctor about how these and other resources may help. Help us find more local resources to add to our Tips Resource Map!

If you are pregnant or planning to be, talk with your healthcare provider about getting up to date on all your vaccines. CDC recommends two vaccines during every pregnancy: the flu and the Tdap vaccines.

Federally funded health centers provide preventive services and wellness care, including vaccines — and may offer sliding fees based on your income. Your state health department can also tell you where to go for free and low-cost vaccines, please refer to our Tips Resource Map for your state!

Honoring and listening to your body by choosing nourishing foods that you enjoy, moving your body in ways that give you energy, and managing your stress are great habits to build before and throughout your pregnancy.

Not everyone has access to healthy foods and safe places for physical activity. Get involved in your community to make sure friends and neighbors are supported with options to make healthy choices. Help us add to our Tips Resource Map with the local places and spaces that have been most helpful to you!

What is healthy for you is healthy for your baby. Substance use (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, marijuana, etc.) and/or substance misuse can be harmful to a pregnancy and infants who are breastfeeding. If you are already pregnant, it is not too late to get help.

For additional local resources, please refer to (state/county health resources) or help us fill in our Tips Resource Map.

Tailor this proclamation template to your state and disseminate locally to raise awareness!

Pitch a news release to local newspapers to amplify the messages for Birth Defects Awareness!

Help Us Help Your Communities!

We hope the resources we've identified in this map are helpful, yet we remain conscious of the fact that you are more of an expert on which local resources are most helpful and accessible to you. Knowing where to go and having the right community supports is just as important as being your healthiest self. So, we need your help in finding the local community resources that you likely know more about than we do!

Reply to any of our #HealthyCommunitiesHealthyBabies social media posts to mention your local community resources and we will do our best to add them into our map! Or submit suggestions via this form.

*These resources have been developed by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention (SBDRP), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), MotherToBaby (MTB), March of Dimes (MOD), and various state health departments across the country.

We utilize the term birth defects to state that a child has a medical, anatomical, and biological difference or anomaly. Children with birth defects and their families face very unique and sometimes difficult challenges. However, there are also many positive and beautiful moments parents share with their child. Depending on the condition, children living with birth defects can do what other children do. It just may look a little different or take a bit longer. Birth defect terms can feel like labels and may seem upsetting. On the other hand, using these terms can help parents and families access the right type of care, referral to services, and find other families with similar challenges.

These resources and activities are meant to assist state program staff, individual members of the public, and any and all other parties interested in joining us during National Birth Defects Awareness Month. Together, we hope to raise awareness about the impact of birth defects on our communities and to share our best tips and resources for preventing birth defects.

Looking for past content?

If you are looking for any of our previous Birth Defects Prevention Month toolkit resources, please refer to the page linked here.