National Birth Defects Prevention Month - January 2003
While medical researchers are making progress uncovering the causes of birth defects, they still affect 150,000 babies born in the US each year and continue to be the leading cause of infant mortality in the US. To increase awareness about this important subject, January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Researchers continue to investigate the causes of birth defects, and ways to prevent them; however, studies have shown that the risk of some birth defects can be reduced by good prenatal health care and nutrition. For instance, folic acid, a B-vitamin, has been shown to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other related brain and spinal defects when taken before and during pregnancy. In recognition of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, is highlighting a few of the benefit programs available to expectant parents, and those caring for children with special needs.

  • Assistance for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
    Early intervention services are available at no cost for eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth to 3 years of age) and their families. Families of infants and toddlers who meet their state's eligibility requirements will receive a comprehensive evaluation and assessment and be assigned a service coordinator who will assist them. Other fee-based services designed to meet the unique needs of the child may be provided on a state-by-state basis. For more information visit /govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=636

  • Maternal and Child Health Services
    Maternal and Child Health Services are offered in 59 States and jurisdictions to help families access timely, high-quality healthcare. Priority is given to households with low incomes or limited available care. You must check with the office in the state you live in to confirm your family's eligibility to receive benefits. For more information visit /govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=609

  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
    The WIC Program provides supplemental foods, nutrition education and referrals to health care, at no cost, to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are determined to be at nutritional risk. To be fully eligible for the WIC Program, applicants must be determined by a health professional, at no cost, to be at nutritional risk (i.e., have certain medical-based or diet-based risk conditions). For more information visit /govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=368

  • Spina Bifida Health Care Program
    VA provides a health care program for natural children diagnosed with spina bifida (except spina bifida occulta) born to certain Vietnam veterans. Coverage under this program is based on eligibility determinations made by the VA Regional Office. For more information visit /govbenefits/benefits/report.jhtml?bid=568