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The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) Go to site home page About the Task Force


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The Guide to Clinical Preventive Services

Together, the Community Guide and the Clinical Guide provide evidence-based recommendations across the prevention spectrum.


Preventing Birth Defects

A woman holding a small white folic acid supplement pill
  • Birth defects affect about one in every 33 babies born in the United States and account for more than 20% of all infant deaths (CDC) External Web Site Icon.
  • Babies born with birth defects have a greater chance of illness and long term disability than babies without birth defects (CDC) External Web Site Icon.
  • If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby's brain and spine (CDC) External Web Site Icon.

Task Force Recommendations and Findings

This table lists interventions reviewed by the Community Guide, with a summary of the Task Force finding (definitions of findings). Click on an underlined intervention title for a summary of the review.

Intervention Task Force Finding
Community-Wide Campaigns to Promote the Use of Folic Acid Supplements Recommended
June 2004
Interventions to Fortify Food Products with Folic Acid Recommended
June 2008


The findings and conclusions on this page are those of the Community Preventive Services Task Force and do not necessarily represent those of CDC. Task Force evidence-based recommendations are not mandates for compliance or spending. Instead, they provide information and options for decision makers and stakeholders to consider when determining which programs, services, and policies best meet the needs, preferences, available resources, and constraints of their constituents.

Sample Citation

The content of publications of the Guide to Community Preventive Services is in the public domain. Citation as to source, however, is appreciated. Sample citation: Guide to Community Preventive Services. Preventing birth defects. Last updated: MM/DD/YYYY.