Calls Attention To Infections, Pregnancy

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Kentucky Birth Surveillance Registry (KBSR) is joining the National Birth Defects Prevention Network to share the message that a mother's health before, during and after pregnancy is an important foundation to having a healthy baby. "Preventing Infections in Pregnancy" is the theme of National Birth Defects Prevention Month during January 2008.

"We are excited to be a part of this national awareness campaign," said Steve Davis, M.D., deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH). "We hope to reach women, their families and health care providers in our state with this important message."

The Network is working with doctors and other health care providers around the country to encourage better education for women about infections that can harm a baby before it's born. Women should talk with their doctors about testing for infections like group B strep and hepatitis B.

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Good health habits include knowing your family history and genetic risks, seeing a doctor, taking care to not expose yourself to diseases and managing health problems. These habits should also include taking a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid daily starting before pregnancy.

"Women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant need to be especially careful," said Davis. "Good habits to avoid infection include frequent hand washing, careful handling of raw meats, staying away from dirty cat litter and not handling pet rodents or their bedding."

The Network has more than 250 members from all states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. It collects and exchanges information about birth defects and their prevention, encourages research and provides technical support to state and local birth defects monitoring programs.

KBSR is a member of the Network and works to develop and implement a birth surveillance registry that promotes early and accurate identification of children with birth anomalies and other disabling conditions and facilitate prevention, planning and service delivery in Kentucky.

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