January is Birth Defects Prevention Month – Your Help is Needed!

Did you know that January is Birth Defects Prevention Month? Prevention of infections that can cause birth defects is the theme for 2017. The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the March of Dimes, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Teratology Society, has put together a resource packet titled “Prevent to Protect: Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection” to communicate effective steps that can be taken by professionals, community groups, and the public to prevent birth defects.

Teratology Society activities will include:

  • A Press Release in late December drawing attention to the special issue of Birth Defects Research: Part C that focuses on revelations in the basic sciences and the practical issues faced in the clinic surrounding sex determination. “It's an interesting topic because of the current fluid nature of the definition of maleness or femaleness and political discussions and controversies regarding the use of bathrooms by transgender individuals, etc.,” wrote Michiko Watanabe, PhD, the issue’s guest editor. “Parents and physicians need to make important decisions when a baby is born with ambiguous genitalia. That's what some of the articles in this issue will address.”
  • A Fiverr video (animated whiteboard) co-sponsored by the Teratology Society and NBDPN for use on websites and social media. We hope you’ll share it through your networks when it becomes available.
  • Additional informational social media postings about the importance of this year’s key messages:
    • Properly prepare food.
    • Talk to your healthcare provider.
    • Protect yourself from animals and insects known to carry diseases such as Zika virus.
    • Maintain good hygiene.

We are coordinating efforts with NBDPN and spreading the word through other organizations with which the Teratology Society has a relationship.

To maximize the impact of Birth Defects Prevention Month, WE NEED YOU! Do you already follow the Teratology Society on social media? We are on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter! Click on the links and “Like” or “Follow” so that you will receive all of our posts and can easily “Share” them with your networks.

    • Consider joining the "Prevent to Protect" Thunderclap!
    • Consider changing your social media profile picture to the jpeg graphic in this email during the month of January. The Teratology Society will be doing this on our social media pages as well.
    • Share the “Prevent to Protect” Infographic.
    • Follow and use the hashtag #prevent2protect and share/retweet the posts we, as well as our partners, are posting.

Spread the word about the scientific work YOU are doing. Birth Defects Prevention Month is a great time to let people know what you’re doing to advance birth defects research. You could highlight your own work and how, as part of the world’s premier society for birth defects research, your work is part of a global birth defects research, prevention, and education effort. Here are some simple steps to take:

  • Does the organization/institution you work for have a website, magazine, newsletter or other form of communication? Submit two-three paragraphs for posting. Here’s an example template:

YOUR INSTITUTION’S NAME Contributes to the Global Effort To Prevent Birth Defects Through Research

PARAGRAPH 1:MEMBER NAME/TITLE/WORK YOU DO. January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. MEMBER NAME says while the commemorative month recognizes the strides scientists have made to prevent certain birth defects, it also reminds us all of the work that is left to be done.

PARAGRAPH 2:“While we’re certainly achieving advances in birth defects research and proud YOUR INSTITUTION’S NAME is contributing to that, we really need more scientists around the globe to contribute to this field,” said YOUR LAST NAME, who is also a member of the Teratology Society, the world’s premier society for birth defects research, prevention and education. “The fact is about 1 in 33 babies continue to be affected by birth defects in the US Through our efforts, we hope that more babies will be born healthy in the future.”

PARAGRAPH 3: To learn how you can easily educate the public about birth defects prevention through social media and other activities, please click here. If you’re a scientist looking to get involved with global birth defects research initiatives, please visit www.teratology.org.

Thank you for all of the contributions to the teratology field and our society’s mission. May you have a successful month communicating the importance of the work you do. Happy New Year!


Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS
President, Teratology Society

Teratology Society, 1821 Michael Faraday Drive, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20190