Birth Defects Prevention Month 2012

And the Beat Goes On… Looking to the Future for Healthy Hearts


January 2012 is National Birth Defects Prevention Month!  The theme is "And the Beat Goes On… Looking to the Future for Healthy Hearts” which focuses on congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect.  The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) is pleased to provide you with the following resource materials to promote birth defects awareness and prevention. 

  • Birth Defects Prevention Pamphlet (English , Spanish  )
  • Poster: January is Birth Defects Prevention Month (English/Spanish  )
  • Poster: Prevent Birth Defects, Now is the Time (English/Spanish  
  • Packet Use Ideas (Word , PDF )
  • Proclamation (Word , PDF  )  
  • Sample News Release (Word  , PDF  )
  • Sample Letter to Healthcare Providers (Word , PDF 
  • Potential Data sources (Word , PDF )  
  • Resources on the Internet (Word , PDF)
  • Maternal Steps to Help Prevent Congenital Heart Defects (Word , PDF )
  • 5 Things You Need to Know about Congenital Heart Defects (English/Spanish )
  • 10 Things You Need to Know About Birth Defects (English , Spanish )
  • NBDPN Factsheet (PDF )

Additional Materials:

  • Congratulations, Mom. You Have a Beautiful Baby Postpartum Brochure (English, Spanish)
  • Birth Defects Fact Sheets from from the University of South Florida Birth Defects Surveillance Program
    • New information sheets coming soon!
  • Fact Sheet-Healthy Lifestyle Choices (English, Spanish)
  • Fact Sheet-Diabetes (English, Spanish)
  • Fact Sheet-Smoking (English, Spanish)
  • Fact Sheet-Domestic Violence(English, Spanish)
  • Fact Sheet-Folic Acid (English, Spanish)
  • Fact Sheet-Infections and Immunizations (English, Spanish)
  • Fact Sheet-Medical Conditions and Genetic Counseling (English, Spanish)
  • Free NTD/folic acid materials from CDC
  • Free FAS materials from CDC
  • NTD/folic acid materials                                                                                                                                                                                                       

We encourage you to raise awareness about congenital heart defects.  In 2004, hospitalization costs for congenital heart defects among people of all ages totaled $1.4 billion in the US.   Although congenital heart defects are common and familiar to many, there is a lack of knowledge about the serious outcomes and how some may be prevented.

Please encourage all pregnant women and those who could become pregnant to:

  • Consume 400 micrograms of folic acid daily
  • Manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes, seizure disorders, or phenylketonuria (PKU)
  • Make sure that prescription and over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements are safe if taken around the time of conception and during early pregnancy
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and illicit drugs
  • Complete a check-up from a health care provider prior to conception
  • Avoid harmful occupational and environmental exposures
  • Ensure protection against domestic violence
  • Know their family history and seek reproductive genetic counseling, if appropriate

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the materials and complete the evaluation form.  Resources developed by the Education & Outreach Committee are available on the NBDPN website and can be tailored to meet your specific agency's needs.  Materials from other organizations featured contained within the packet can be obtained directly from that agency.

If you have questions about Birth Defects Prevention Month, please contact Mary Knapp at or Cara Mai at  We hope you find these materials helpful in providing information about birth defects to families, colleagues, and policy makers.


Mary Knapp
Education & Outreach Committee co-chair 
New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services         

LaShunda Williams
Education & Outreach Committee co-chair
Mississippi State Department of Health