What Is The Truth About Birth Defects?

Birth defects occur in a percentage of the babies born. It is important to find out why this occurs and what can be done about birth defects.

All mother’s to some degree have worried about their baby coming out with some sort of problem. Within this article is the complete definition of a birth defect, how many types there are, the asssociated risk factors and ways to prevent them.

What Is A Birth Defect?

A birth defect is classified as abnormal that is also present at birth. Another name for it is a congenital disorder. As a whole most birth defects occur during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Birth defects can be mild or serious. A birth defect can be found before birth, at birth, or any time after birth. Some of these defects are easy to see right away others may need special tests in order to see them, such as hearing and or heart problems. Some problems may not surface until later on in life.

A birth defect is a problem that results from an error in the way the heart, brain, and spinal cord, kidney, bone, muscle, skin or other body organ has developed. Babies with these birth defects may need medical treatments and even surgery. Moreover, a birth defect may affect how the body works, looks or both.

Studies show that one out of 33 babies born each year in the United States has a birth defect. In addition, about 70% of babies are born with a birth defect and there isn’t any known cause to the problem.

What Are The Types Of Birth Defects?

Studies show there are more than 3,000 differect types of birth defects. They can be divided into 3 types, which are structural, genetic and caused by exposure to a chemical agent or infectious disease.

Structural – A structural birth defect occurs when some part of the baby’s body is not formed right or missing. A defect like this can be internal such as a heart defect or external like a clubfoot. A structural defect may have more than one cause. Heart defects are the most common type of defect. Nearly one in 125 babies are born with a birth defect. Neural tube defects are also a common structural defect. These are defects that occur when the spinal cord or brain aren’t covered correctly. Examples of neural tube defects are anencephaly and spina bifida.

Genetics – Genetic defects are caused by errors in one or more genes passed on by the parents (inherited defects), by a damaged, missing, or extra chromosome (chromosomal disorders) or by a mixture of factors (multifactorial defects). A few examples of inherited disorders are cysctic fibrosis, tay sachs disease, sickle cell disease. Chromosomal disorders are an example of a problem that occurred when the egg and sperm were joining. The older the women are the greater the chance of birthing a child with a chromosomal disorder.

Down syndrome – Multifacterial defects are a result of the interaction of the parents genes with the environment of the developing fetus. Both abdominal wall defects and cleft palate are examples of multifacterial defects.

Exposure to infections and harmful chemical agents. Some birth defects can occur when the fetus is exposed to maternal infections or by the consumption of alcohol or certain medicines.

What Are The Risk Factors?

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of having a baby with birth defects. Here are a few below.

Had diabetes before pregnancy

Have a family or personal history of birth defects

Are aged 35 years or older when the baby is due

Have a family or personal history of birth defects

Have previously had a child with a birth defect

Used certain medicines around the time you became pregnant

How Do You Prevent Birth Defects?

Some birth defects cannot be prevented. At the same time, by taking care of you and avoiding harmful substances will decrease the risks of a birth defect. Birth defects can be a serious problem, but if the woman takes good care of herself can drastically decrease her chances of a birth defect.


The information provided herein should not be construed as a health-care diagnosis, treatment regimen or any other prescribed health-care advice or instruction. The information is provided with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in the practice of medicine or any other health-care profession and do

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