Local Hospital Working to Prevent Birth Defects

ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Every 4.5 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Last year alone, more than 1,700 babies were born at Sentara RMH in Rockingham County.

Child birth can be a frightening experience since birth defects, on average, kill one in five infants.

Fortunately, doctors at Sentara RMH said they do not see birth defects as frequently as the CDC's average; however, that doesn't mean they don't face the challenge in the delivery room, though.

Because of that, Dr. Cathy Slusher said breaking the news to parents isn't easy, but by checking with your doctor before you even get pregnant, there are steps parents can take to prevent any major surprises.

"Everybody wants the perfect child, and you're always hoping that opportunity exists for every couple that comes into your care. When it doesn't, you've got to keep a level head. They love that baby. They've waited for that baby. It's usually very welcomed. It's usually a matter of breaking it not only gently, but with education so that they understand," she shared.

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