FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             Connecticut Department of Public Health

January 22, 2010                                       Contact: William Gerrish

                                                                  (860) 509-7270


Hartford January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and this year the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is focusing on addressing diabetes among women of childbearing age.  Together, with the over 350 members of the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), DPH is working to alert women of childbearing age about the critical link between diabetes and increased risk for birth defects. 


“All types of diabetes, not just gestational, have been linked to birth defects when the disease is not carefully controlled,” says DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin. 


The prevalence of diabetes in women of childbearing age has doubled in the last decade, affecting 1.3 million nationwide. Although diabetes has been identified as a public health concern, most are unaware of the complications that uncontrolled diabetes can have on both the pregnant woman and her baby. 


Studies have demonstrated that the key to a healthy pregnancy for women with diabetes is keeping blood glucose in target range -- both before and during pregnancy. Babies born to women with diabetes, especially women with poor diabetes control are at greater risk for birth defects.


“Small steps like visiting a health care provider before pregnancy and taking a multivitamin everyday can make a big difference,” stated Commissioner Galvin. “We are excited to be part of this national movement. Through our efforts across the country we hope to reach millions of women and their families with vital prevention information.”


The National Birth Defects Prevention Network is working with health care providers around the country to encourage diabetes prevention and control for the over 60 million women in the U.S. of childbearing age. DPH is participating in National Birth Defects Prevention Month with helping to increase awareness to women and their health care providers across the state.


Women can take other steps in their everyday lives to maintain good health such as having regular health care check ups and learning about family history and genetic risks.


For more information on birth defects, please call the Department of Public Health at (860) 509-8074 or visit the following websites:


Birth Defects information:



  • The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disability at CDC:




Diabetes information:


The Connecticut Department of Public Health is the state’s leader in public health policy and advocacy with a mission to protect and promote the health and safety of the people of our state. To contact the department, please visit its website at or call (860) 509-7270.