Florida Birth Defects Registry report released

One in 28 babies in Florida are born with a birth defect — which are the leading cause of infant death, according to the latest Florida Birth Defects Registry reported released by the state Department of Health.

The registry report looks at data from 1998-2007. The most common defects include congenital heart defects, cleft lip, gastroschisis, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and congential abnormalities.

While the causes of two-thirds of birth defects are unknown, women can help prevent birth defects by planning their pregnancy and seeing their health care provider prior to becoming pregnant to discuss family history, use of medications or chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes or epilepsy.

Defects of the neural tube and those in the fetal alcohol spectrum can be prevented by taking folic acid prior to and during pregnancy and avoiding alcohol while pregnant.

In 2007, the state DOH received funding to operate and manage this statewide birth defects registry in response to the public’s ongoing concern about birth defects and environmental hazards. For more information on the registry, visit the FBDR Web site.