March of Dimes resources for perinatal health professionals
Preconception, premature birth, newborn screening and genetics are all important aspects of perinatal health care. The March of Dimes provides resources and links to help you stay up to date on these critical topics.
Premature birth is the leading killer of newborns in the United States. Through our Prematurity Campaign, we aim to raise public awareness of the problems of prematurity and decrease the rate of preterm birth in the United States and throughout the world. Special resources for professionals can help you join us in this important effort.
Patient education is key to improving the health of mothers and their babies. With more than 70 years of experience in health education, the March of Dimes provides a wide range of resources for patients and their families. Our goal is to provide health care professionals with the educational information they need to improve the health of mothers and babies.
This site designed just for professionals gives practical, how-to information and downloadable tools to help integrate genetics into your clinical practice. Educational modules include genetic testing and screening, taking a family history, and making referrals to genetic services. Interactive case studies offer 3 continuing medical education credits.
Our Preconception and Prenatal Genetic Screening Pocket Facts describes widely used screening methods and data for certain birth defects.
The March of Dimes works with a number of organizations to bring the most current scientific and clinical information to providers on a number of topics:
Most common questions
Does the March of Dimes provide information about birth defects?
Yes. The March of Dimes produces fact sheets on several birth defects, including autism, chromosomal abnormalities, cleft lip, congenital heart defects and Down syndrome. Simply type the name of the birth defect into the search box.
What happens during a preconception checkup?
A preconception checkup can help assure that a woman is as healthy as possible before she conceives. Her provider can identify and often treat health conditions that can pose a risk in pregnancy, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or certain infections. During the visit, the woman can learn about nutrition, weight, smoking, drinking alcohol and occupational exposures that can pose pregnancy risks. The provider also can make sure a woman’s vaccinations are up to date and that any medications she takes are safe during pregnancy. The woman and her provider can discuss her health history and that of her partner and family. If the woman or her partner has a history of birth defects or preterm birth or if either has a high risk for a genetic disorder based on family history, ethnic background or age, the provider may suggest seeing a genetic counselor.
What is a birth defect?
A birth defect is an abnormality of structure, function or metabolism (body chemistry) present at birth that results in physical or intellectual disabilities or death. Thousands of different birth defects have been identified. Birth defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life.
See also: Common birth defects
What newborn screening tests does the March of Dimes recommend?
The March of Dimes would like to see all babies in all states screened for at least 31 health conditions. Many of these health conditions can be treated if found early.
All states require newborn screening for at least 26 health conditions. Some states require screening for additional conditions – some up to 50 or more. For more information, read our article on newborn screening.