Birth Defects, Information for Parents

Not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are some ways to increase your chances of having a healthier pregnancy and birth outcomes. more

What You Should Do

  • See your healthcare professional regularly.
  • Take 400-800 micrograms of folic acid daily.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Control chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
  • Avoid smoking including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and marijuana.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid drugs and substance use during pregnancy.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any medications you take.
  • Protect against infections, including the flu, Zika virus, and animal infections.
  • Complete a service assessment if your child has one of the birth defects listed below. This will help the Rhode Island Birth Defects Program (RIBDP) determine which services and referrals families received.

What We Do

  • The Rhode Island Birth Defects Program (RIBDP) uses reports of birth defects cases to help assure children with birth defects receive appropriate services and referrals on a timely basis. Hospitals and physicians report cases of birth defects among children up to the age of 5, who were born to RI residents, to RIBDP.
  • Children with selected birth defects are referred for a service assessment to determine if they received the necessary medical, educational, and developmental support services.
  • Families of children with selected birth defects are asked to complete a service assessment to determine which services and referrals they have received.
    • Assessments can be completed at some clinics/provider offices or via mail.
    • The RIBDP can also link families to services if it is determined during the completion of service assessment process.
  • The RIBDP uses findings from service assessments to determine gaps in service referrals and supports.

We currently conduct service assessments for the following conditions:

  • Abdominal wall defects form
  • Cleft lip with or without cleft palate; cleft palate; craniosynostosis form
  • Spina Bifida Form
  • Critical congenital heart defects form
  • Down syndrome form
  • Hearing loss form
  • Microcephaly/Central Nervous System Conditions (CNS) form