Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week
Sponsored by the American Heart Association, Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is observed every year from February 7-14. Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week is an initiative created to promote awareness about congenital heart defects (CHDs).
CHDs affect approximately 1% of births per year1. The most common type of birth defects, CHDs are present at birth and can affect the structure of a baby’s heart. Primary prevention of CHDs begin prior to conception. While we do not always understand what may cause CHDs, it is important to talk to your patients about ways they may reduce the risk of heart defects2. The following advice can be helpful for your patients before and during pregnancy:
- Take a multivitamin with folic acid daily
- Do not drink alcohol or smoke tobacco during pregnancy
- Keep your blood sugar under control
- Maintain a healthy weight, before and during pregnancy
- Get vaccinated
- Know your family history
It is important that families understand that even if a pregnant woman follows these guidelines, her child may still be born with a congenital heart defect3. For more information about the Adult Congenital Heart Association visit, http://www.achaheart.org.