For the first time, the March of Dimes has taken a hard look at birth defects worldwide. Its sobering report came out Monday with surprising news that, even in the US, hundreds of babies are born with deformities that could have been prevented.
"The doctor said 'something's wrong with his face, but everything's gonna be okay.' and I immediately thought, 'how can everything be okay when there's something wrong?" said mother Lori Gunther.
Lori's son, Ethan, was born like 700 other babies that come into the US every year...with a cleft lip or palate. But this new report from the March of Dimes finds there are actually almost 8 million babies born with birth defects every year, worldwide, and the reasons why include having babies late in life, bad diets, genetics, and marriages between close relatives.
So, the March of Dimes is calling for education, family planning, newborn screening, and training for health care workers to identify babies in trouble early on, because an early diagnosis often means an early repair.
And remember, the March of Dimes says early prevention means all women of childbearing age should be taking folic acid because it has been shown to prevent birth defects. Once a woman learns she's pregnant, some birth defects could already have developed, so folic acid really needs to be included in the diet much earlier.