Egg Nutrition Center Blog

Help Prevent Birth Defects

healthy pregnancy month

Do you have a family member with a congenital heart disease? Have you heard of someone with a cleft palate or spina bifida? I’m guessing the answer to at least one of these questions is yes. Birth defects impact 1 in every 33 babies born in the U.S. each year.1

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. This is an issue near and dear to my heart. My mother had a stillborn with anencephaly (a neural tube defect), so I constantly thought about what I was eating when I was pregnant with my daughter.

You may be wondering – How do eggs fit into this story?

Choline – that’s how. Eggs are the #1 source of this nutrient in the American diet, and choline intake has been linked to decreased risk for neural tube defects. Not only that, choline has also been linked to positive outcomes with pregnancy by promoting cognition in babies (see this post about a recent study).

While not all birth defects can be prevented, adopting a healthy eating pattern that meets the recommendations for critical nutrients like choline, folate and protein can help promote a healthy pregnancy.

To learn more about National Birth Defects Prevention Month, visit https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/prevention-month.html

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/facts.html

Author: Rachel Bassler, RDN, CSSD, LDN