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Pregnant women with diabetes double risk of birth defects

Published: Jan. 15, 2016 at 4:33 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 15, 2016 at 4:38 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - January is National Birth Defect Prevention month.

There are many risk factors that can increase the odds of delivering a child with a birth defect.

The March of Dimes says those risks include: Smoking, drinking, taking street drugs during pregnancy, family history of birth defects, getting pregnant after the age of 34, or taking certain medications, such as isotretinoin.

But did you know that there is also a common condition that can put any woman at risk?

Dr. Roxanne Holt, an Ob-Gyn and Texas Tech Physician, says "Women with diabetes actually have double the risk of having a birth defect. So, it's extremely important that they meet with their doctors prior to getting pregnant so they can get their blood sugars under control because that will decrease the risk of having a baby with a birth defect."

Dr. Holt adds that risk does not come for women who develop gestational diabetes, only those who have the disease prior to getting pregnant.

The March of Dimes says one important thing women can do to help prevent birth defects is to take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Their suggestion is that any woman who is planning to conceive should begin taking folic acid at least one month before getting pregnant.

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