Spotlight on National Birth Defects Prevention Month

In January of 2017, the theme for Birth Defects Prevention Month is “Prevent to Protect: Prevent infections for baby’s protection.” Of course, not all birth defects are preventable, but there are precautionary measures that can help reduce the risk of heart, orthopedic, and other birth defects. The obstetricians and other providers at The Birthplace at JFK Medical Center are devoted to supporting optimum outcomes for mother and baby to prevent the following risks.

Foodborne Illnesses

Foodborne illnesses are a major concern during pregnancy, because of the altered state of the immune system. Foodborne illnesses may increase the risk of health problems for mother and baby, including premature birth and stillbirth. Babies infected with Listeria prenatally may even develop functional impairments of the brain, kidneys or heart. The basic steps of preventing foodborne illnesses include washing hands frequently, preventing cross-contamination of food, cooking food to the proper internal temperature and refrigerating food promptly.

Zika Virus

Expecting mothers in Florida often have concerns about the Zika virus. This virus is known to cause birth defects, including microcephaly. It is recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant avoid nonessential travel to areas with confirmed Zika presence. A physician can provide up-to-date information to prospective travelers.


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection that typically poses no threat to people of overall good health. However, a toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy does increase the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and congenital toxoplasmosis of the baby. This infection is transmitted through the handling of cat feces. Expecting mothers who have cats are advised to have someone else clean the litter box for the duration of the pregnancy.

Cytomegalovirus (CMV)

CMV is a common virus that belongs to the herpes family. It can be very dangerous for the baby when contracted during pregnancy, particularly if the mother has never been exposed before. Infected babies may develop blindness, hearing loss, learning disabilities and epilepsy.

At JFK Medical Center, it’s our goal to provide patient-focused, high-quality maternity and newborn care. Our maternity providers near Atlantis offer supportive prenatal education to reduce the risk of birth defects. You can request a referral to a physician by calling (561) 548-4JFK (4535).

Raising Awareness for Cervical Health

January has been designated as Cervical Health Awareness Month by the U.S. Congress. Thousands of women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of cervical cancer and promote its early detection if it develops. This January, consider talking to a women’s health services provider at JFK Medical Center about your risk of cervical cancer.

Know the Symptoms

It is typical for cervical cancer to not cause any noticeable signs or symptoms until it is already in an advanced stage, which is one reason why routine screening tests are crucial. When cervical cancer does cause noticeable changes, women may report abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding that occurs during these times:

  • After a pelvic exam
  • Between regular menstrual cycles
  • After sexual intercourse
  • After douching

Additionally, some women report pain during intercourse and abnormal vaginal discharge. As the disease continues to progress, patients may experience pain in the back, abdomen or pelvis, appetite loss, extreme fatigue, bone pain, urinary or rectal problems or swelling in the legs.

Identify Your Risk Factors

It is entirely possible to develop cervical cancer despite the absence of personal risk factors, just as it is possible to avoid a cervical cancer diagnosis despite having many risk factors. However, risk factors can be a useful tool in assessing a patient’s individual need for screenings. The most significant risk factor for cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Some strains of HPV are preventable with a vaccine. Other risk factors include the following:

  • Cervical dysplasia
  • A history of multiple sexual partners
  • Tobacco use
  • Suppressed immune system
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure
  • Poor nutrition
  • Obesity

Understand Your Screening Options

Screening tests include Pap smears and HPV tests. In general, it’s recommended that a woman of average risk for cervical cancer receive a Pap test every three years when she is between the ages of 21 and 29. These guidelines change with age. Women who have previously had abnormal Pap results or other risk factors of cervical cancer may be advised to have more frequent screenings. A physician can provide personalized recommendations.

JFK Medical Center is a leading provider of women’s health services in Atlantis. We offer comprehensive breast care, including oncologic services. For further information about our women’s services, call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (561) 548-4JFK (4535).

Hurricane Preparedness

Developing a Plan

  • Identify where you will go if you need to evacuate- i.e. relative, friend, public shelter, etc.
  • Stay informed of the latest updates and evacuations orders.
  • Prepare a detailed list of information about the specifics of your medication regime.
  • Consult a physician and medical supply vendors to make sure you are adequately prepared for a hurricane.
  • Have at least a two-week supply of your medication.
  • Have a first-aid kit fully stocked on-hand.
  • Wear medical alert tags or bracelets to identify your disability and/or medical condition.
  • If you are dependent on any medical device that requires electricity, contact your physician for his or her recommendation.
  • Pregnant women 38 weeks or greater or that are considered high-risk should consult their physician.

Cord Blood Awareness Month

All About Stem Cells

About Storing Cord Blood

The Birthplace at JFK Medical Center is pleased to offer family-oriented maternity and newborn care serving Atlantis. We encourage you to find out more about our services and emergency care, including obstetrics. Visit our website or call (561) 548-4JFK (4535) for more information or a physician referral. Following birth, the umbilical cord attaching your baby to the placenta is cut. Studies have found that the blood remaining in the umbilical cord and placenta at this time is rich in stem cells, which can be used for medical treatment in the future. The month of July is designated as National Cord Blood Awareness Month; at JFK Medical Center, our Obstetrics Department would like you to celebrate this July with us by learning more about cord blood and its potential benefits.

Playground Safety

Supervise Your Child

Inspect the Playground

Talk to Your Children

The Emergency Department at JFK Medical Center encourages families to take part in healthy and safe activities. Our off-site ERs near Palm Beach Garden and Boynton Beach specialize in emergency care for children, handling playground injuries and other concerns quickly and professionally. For locations and more information on all four of our Emergency Rooms in Palm Beach County, call 561-548-4JFK (4535) or visit our website. Playgrounds provide a wonderful setting for children to enjoy daily physical activity. While most bumps and bruises sustained on the playground are minor, some playground injuries are severe enough to warrant a trip to the ER. Keep reading for a few safety tips every parent should know to avoid serious playground injuries.

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