Officials in the Iowa Department of Public Health are increasing its outreach efforts to notify potential parents of possible birth defects. Suzanne Heckenlaible of the March of Dimes works with the Health Department in tracking the problem. She says there’s currently over 18-hundred babies born in Iowa each year who develop or are born with a birth defect. She says many of those babies die from the birth defect. Heckenlaible says her organization and the state work to track and help find cures for birth defects. She says there’s over three thousand know birth defects, and there are many that can now be prevented. Heckenlaible says one of the biggest advances is the use of vitamins to prevent birth defects.She says by taking a multi-viatmin daily, prior to and during the first trimester of pregnancy can prevent from 50 to 75 percent of birth defects. She says they’re working to let women know how important it is to take those vitamins. Heckenlaible says another success has been getting grains fortified with folic acid, an ingredient that also helps prevent birth defects.
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