Kids Heartbeat 01-31-14

Published 01/31 2014 10:46AM

Updated 01/31 2014 11:54PM

By Allison Morrison

(LUBBOCK, TX) - January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. 

Birth defects are a physical problem present at birth.

Statistics show they affect one in every 33 babies and can't always be prevented.

Covenant's Dr. David Blann said women can take steps to increase their chances of having a baby with the best health possible.

"Living a healthy life, eating a good diet, not smoking, being a normal body weight," he recommended.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you might be at an increased risk of having a baby with birth defects if you're:

- 35-years-old or older when the baby's due
- have a family or personal history of birth defects
- have previously had a child with a birth defect
- used certain medicines around the time you became pregnant
- have diabetes
- use illegal drugs or drink alcohol

Dr. Blann said there are some things you can't control, like genetics.

Still, he suggests doing what you can before you conceive, to reduce the risk.

"If you have the opportunity to reduce exposure risks to the things that we know cause problems, it's all the better," he said.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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