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Birth Defect News

9 Ways to Help Prevent Birth Defects

April 17th, 2015

doctor and patient looking at sonogram The possibility your child could be born with a birth defect will always exist. You can, however, take precautions to increase your odds of having a healthy baby. By eating certain vitamins and avoiding harmful substances, if women tweak their daily routines in just a few ways, it just might save their child from a devastating diagnosis.

Most birth defects develop very early in pregnancy, sometimes before a woman knows she is pregnant. There are even measures women can take before pregnancy that can help prepare for a healthy birth.

Expecting mothers and anyone thinking about having a child should read over the following guidelines on how to prevent birth defects from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC’s suggestions will help you live a healthier life regardless of whether you’re pregnant, and could keep a birth defect from affecting your baby. Read the rest of this entry »

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CHD Awareness Week: Shedding Light on the Country’s Most Common Birth Defect

February 18th, 2015

This past week, you would have been hard-pressed to go anywhere without seeing heart decorations or heart-shaped candies celebrating Valentine’s Day. Hearts, however, were also the focus of a recent nationwide effort to draw attention to the most common birth defect in the country: congenital heart defects.

SONY DSCCongenital Heart Defect Awareness Week ran from Feb. 7 to Feb. 14. CHD affects tens of thousands of babies each year and varies in severity. It can be minor. It can be deadly. In any case, CHD can put onerous physical, emotional and financial strains on anyone who is diagnosed with CHD and their families.

Let’s take some time here to review what CHD Awareness Week covered, and let’s talk about about some basic facts surrounding CHD you may not be aware of: Who does it affect? Why does it occur? What’s being done to treat it? Read the rest of this entry »

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Folic Acid Awareness Week Focuses on Importance of Women’s Health Issues

January 5th, 2015

pregnant lady healthy foodNational Folic Acid Awareness Week occurs the second week of January, a month dedicated to birth defect prevention. The week is focused on raising awareness about the value of folic acid for pregnant women. It also brings attention to the importance of a woman’s overall health and wellness during pregnancy, in addition to becoming more educated about the risk of birth defects.

According to the National Council on Folic Acid, Hispanic babies are nearly twice as likely to be born with neural tube defects compared to other babies born in the U.S. Reports show that Hispanic women consume the least amount of folic acid of any racial or ethnic group — likely due to the nutritional differences in cuisine.

An estimated 1 in 33 babies is born with a birth defect each year. It is important for all women to be given updated information and made aware about all benefits of taking folic acid during pregnancy.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Report: Hypospadias Now as Common as Cleft Palate

November 19th, 2014

Reports of increasing cases of hypospadias, a birth defect in males when the urethra emerges on the shaft or base of the penis rather than the tip, were prevalent from 1960 to 1980, with trends dropping early into the 1990s. However, more recent statistics reveal that it is a birth defect still an issue today, affecting approximately every 1 in 300 men worldwide.

babyA recent article from the Daily Mail claims that the number of males suffering from this condition has doubled in a generation, making it as common a birth defect as cleft palate. An estimated 1,500 operations are scheduled each year in an effort to correct the problem, which can lead to its own set of complications. Read the rest of this entry »

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November is National Family Caregivers Month

November 6th, 2014

The everyday needs of a child born with a birth defect can be challenging to parents or family members caring him or her. For the month of November, these family caregivers, who improve the quality of life for millions of people, are celebrated.

cdcCAN is a non-profit organization that provides free education, resources and support to family caregivers, including those parents caring for children with special needs. In a study listed on their website, 80% of caregivers believe their role has given them more meaning in their lives, but 85% are “exhausted,” 82% “frustrated” and 70% “overwhelmed.”

The role of caregivers often means putting their loved ones’ needs over their own. This selflessness can face its share of challenges. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following tips to maintain the safety and health of caregivers and the ones they provide for:

  • Keep informed about special need requirements
  • Seek support from local or online groups that provide information and programs
  • Be an advocate
  • Be empowering and focus on what your child can do (rather than what they cannot)
  • Practice self-care

Celebrating a Lifetime of Care

Parents who have a child born with a brain, spinal or congenital birth defect are dedicated to a lifetime of care that exceed beyond childhood. In fact, it has been reported that 80% of long-term care is provided by family members or friends.

Woman holding flowers and reading note smilingHonoring National Family Caregivers Month is one small way to show appreciation and support for parents who are caring for a child with a birth defect or other special needs. Suggestions to lend a helping hand include:

  • Help a family caregiver at the holidays with decorations, meal preparation or addressing holiday cards
  • Take a few minutes to write a letter, or to send flowers or a card of appreciation
  • Offer tickets to a comedy show, movie or simply a few hours of time to allow the caregiver a break for themselves

Small gestures can often have big impact for caregivers — not only for the month of November, but year-round.

Find Your Support

There is support and resources available for those who are caring for the ongoing, special needs of their child. There is also legal support for parents whose children were born with a birth defect. Multiple studies have shown the link between certain medications and birth defects.

If you were taking medication during pregnancy and your child was born with a life-long defect, we may be able to help you seek compensation. We want to help give you the support you need and address the legal options available. There is no obligation and the case evaluation is free. Contact us today.


image credit: CDC

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Parents of Baby Diagnosed with Anencephaly Celebrate His Life

October 22nd, 2014

Jenna Gassew and Dan HaleyEarlier this year, a Pennsylvania couple found out they were expecting. In April, Jenna Gassew and Dan Haley’s baby was diagnosed in the womb with anencephaly, a rare and terminal condition. It is estimated that one in every 4,859 babies will be born with anencephaly each year in the U.S. According to the CDC, nearly all babies born with this defect die shortly after birth.

Prayers for Shane

When Gassew and Haley were initially given the news that their baby would be born with anencephaly, they decided to create a bucket list for him to visit all the places they enjoyed going as kids that he would never get to experience.

The couple started a Facebook prayer page, Prayers for Shane, before his birth to celebrate his life, attracting a half a million supporters along the way. On the day he was born, a Facebook post on the page read:

“Shane spent his entire life in the arms of people that loved him unconditionally and I don’t think you could ask for a more beautiful life [than] that…”

Read the rest of this entry »

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What Is Anencephaly?

October 8th, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 in every 4,859 babies are born with anencephaly in the U.S. each year. Anencephaly falls under the category of brain and spinal birth defects. It is when a baby is born without parts of the skull or brain. This neural tube defect forms within the first month of pregnancy, typically before a woman is aware that she is pregnant.

Human PregnancyThere are screening tests women can take during pregnancy to check for anencephaly and other possible birth defects or complications. An abnormal blood or serum screening test result would identify anencephaly or it may be seen during an ultrasound.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure or effective treatment for this tragic condition. Although it develops in the earliest stages, an anencephaly diagnosis may not come until after the baby is born. Due to the severity of the condition, most babies born with anencephaly will not live long enough to leave the hospital.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Advocates for Autism Walk for a Cause

September 26th, 2014

Parents raising children with autism often find support in other families facing the same concerns. Walk Now for Autism Speaks has family-friendly walks scheduled nationwide that include other fundraising opportunities and community involvement for a fun-filled weekend day.

austistic child building blocksAlmost a decade ago, Bob and Suzanne Wright founded Autism Speaks, a worldwide organization advocating for autism research and education. As grandparents of a child with autism, they are dedicated to increasing awareness through fundraising, research and other initiatives including the organized walks for the cause. Several individuals and groups have raised over $100,000 to donate to autism research.

Autism Rate on the Rise

Studies have shown a reliable diagnosis of autism can be given to a child as young as 2. However, research also has shown that parents have seen signs of development problems in their children even before their child’s first birthday.

Autism is estimated to occur in 1 in every 68 births in the U.S. Autism rates increased nearly 120% between 2000 to 2010. It is safe to say that autism affects millions of families every year. Read the rest of this entry »

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Duck Dynasty Family Raises Cleft Palate Awareness

August 8th, 2014

Mia Robertson, daughter of Duck Dynasty reality stars Jase and Missy Robertson, was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. Earlier this year, she underwent her final surgery to correct the birth defect, which inspired the family to start the Mia Moo Fund to raise awareness for the cause.

Mia Moo dedicates its efforts to bring attention to these craniofacial birth defects and raise funding for cleft lip and cleft palate research and treatments. When Mia was preparing for her surgery, she received an outpouring of support from thousands of people sharing their words of inspiration and empowerment.

The Robertsons are now paying that kindness forward and raising money for other families suffering from these birth defects. People are encouraged to donate funds online in amounts as low as $10, purchase merchandise championing the cause or simply become involved spreading the message of awareness. Read the rest of this entry »

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Toddler Undergoes Amputation, Triumphs Against Odds and Walks

July 14th, 2014

A bittersweet video of a 2-year-old walking for the first time with his new prosthetics has been circling the Internet. Kayden Kinckle was born with omphalocele, a birth defect that occurs when the intestines, bladder, liver and other organs stay on the outside of the body.

At birth, his umbilical cord wrapped around his feet and was trapped under his mom’s pelvic bone. These complications led to Kayden having his right foot and left leg amputated. Today though, with the aid of prosthetics and physical therapy, he is able to walk.

First Steps of Strength

Kayden’s mother, Nikki, was warned early on that he would not survive or that, if he did, he would not be able to walk if she carried him full-term.

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