The annual report is out from the Iowa Birth Defects Registry. The report tracks birth defect rates statewide, risk factors, research and the impact of education efforts. Registry director Dr. Paul Romitti, at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, says there were no major changes in the latest numbers. The most common birth defects reported are again heart defects and muscular-skeletal defects. Dr. Romitti says the number of defects followed a pattern across Iowa, as they parallel the population in the counties.About 16-hundred pregnancies in Iowa are diagnosed with birth defects every year, and they’re the leading cause of death in infants under one year old. Dr. Romitti says some birth defects can be prevented simply through mothers improving their lifestyles. Dr. Romitti says expectant women and hopefuls can help prevent birth defects by taking folic acid and by avoiding tobacco and alcohol.
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