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FOR RELEASE: January 23, 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

Get Healthy Before You Get Pregnant
January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is joining the National Birth Defects Prevention Network to alert women and their families about the urgent need for good health before thinking about pregnancy. There are more than 60 million women of childbearing age in the U.S. that need to hear the message "Good Health Habits for a Lifetime, " which is the theme of National Birth Defects Prevention Month this month.

"We are excited to be part of this national movement. We hope to reach millions of women across the country with this message," says Oklahoma Birth Defects Registry Coordinator Kay Pearson. OSDH public health professionals stress the need to get healthy before you get pregnant to get the best results for you and your baby.

Good health habits for women include knowing your family history and genetic risks, seeing a doctor, managing health problems and taking a multivitamin with 400 mcg of folic acid every day. Women need to start these things before getting pregnant.

"Just taking a multivitamin everyday can make a big difference," says Pearson. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network is working with doctors and other health care providers around the country to encourage good pre-pregnancy health.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network is a forum to exchange ideas about how to prevent birth defects, collect information, encourage research and provide technical support for state and local programs. Currently, there are more than 250 members from all states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. To learn more about the network and Birth Defects Prevention Month, please visit www.nbdpn.org.

The OSDH has free health risk appraisals and pamphlets available that contain information about good health habits before pregnancy. To learn more, please contact Kay Pearson at 1-800-766-2223 or 405/271-6617 in the Oklahoma City Metro area.


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