Approximately 150,000 children are born every year in the United States affected by one or more birth defects. Although the cause of over 60% of birth defects are not known, there are things that you can do as an employer to intervene on behalf of your employees, your customers and those in your community.
Awareness and education are the keys to preventing birth defects. As a business leader; you can play a vital role during January, the National Birth Defects Prevention Month and throughout the year creating awareness and providing access to birth defect prevention education.
Here is a variety of tips you can use to implement a birth defect prevention plan for your business:
- Tip 1. Provide wellness education in your company orientation and review processes that includes prevention tips for heart disease, cancer, diabetes and of course birth defects.
- Tip 2. Make your benefits program includes coverage for annual wellness checks and genetic counseling for those considering parenthood.
- Tip 3. Provide access to organizations that offer prevention education, such as the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. These organizations could be listed in your benefits manual and through links on your company website. For birth defect prevention, include the following: American Pregnancy Association 1-800-672-2296 www.americanpregnancy.org March of Dimes www.marchofdimes.com National Birth Defects Prevention Network www.nbdpn.org
- Tip 4. Create a health and wellness display in your companies break room, providing access to educational pamphlets and brochures that address common health concerns, including birth defect prevention.
- Tip 5. Inform customers that January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. Place a poster near the checkout or on a bulletin board. Incorporate a simple sentence in your promotional email campaigns
“January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Visit the American Pregnancy Associationwww.americanpregnancy.org, March of Dimes www.modimes.org, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Network www.nbdpn.org for more information.”
One email to your customer and vender list may have a domino effect in creating awareness of birth defect prevention options. It is free and could easily prompt someone considering parenthood to have a wellness exam or seek genetic counseling.
Why Implement a Company Birth Defects Prevention Campaign?
- Communicate to employees, customers and the community that you care about their well being creating positive community relations.
- Prevent the occurrence of a birth defect for an employee or someone in your community.
- Reduce the amount of public funding spent on neonatal care following the birth of a low-birth-weight baby.
- For self insured companies, investing in wellness programs and genetic counseling can reduce the excessive monies spent on neonatal care or the additional medical care necessary for managing a child with a birth defect.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.com
National Birth Defects Prevention Network, http://www.nbdpn.org/ ,/cite>