Birth Defects by: ashlynn perry

what are birth defects?

Birth defects are abnormal development of a a fetus that results in:

- death

- growth

- retardation

- functional disorders

- malformation

They are also congenital anomalies. Birth defects are fairly common. They are physical abnormalities that develop before the baby is born. These birth defects are usually seen at birth or by the age of one. Sometimes numerous birth defects can occur together in the same patient/baby.

How can they be prevented?

Some birth defects can be preventable. Maintaining good nutrition, not drinking alcohol, avoiding radiation and certain drugs while pregnant can help prevent birth defects. Some birth defects can be fixed through surgery or medicine.


The cause of most birth defects is unknown but certain things can increase the risk of a baby having birth defects. Such as infections, genetics, and certain environmental factors can all play a part in it. Certain infection in the mother, injuries, and hereditary disorders also increase the chance of birth defects developing in the baby. Many birth defects develop before the woman knows she is even pregnant.


A teratogen is a substance that increases and can cause birth defects to develop. Some teratogens include radiation (x-rays too), certain drugs, and alcohol (toxins). It really depends how long the mother was exposed to the teratogen. The organ that is developing at the time that the mother was exposed to a teratogen is usually the organ that develops the birth deffect.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol System is a birth defect that is caused by the mother intaking a lot alcohol during pregnancy. FAS is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and mental retardation. It is estimated to occur in the U.S. in 1-3 infants per 1000 live births and for every child born with FAS.


It is very important for a pregnant lady to maintain anutrutios diet in order to keep a healthy fetus. One thing that is very important for a pregnant woman to have daily is folic acid. Folic acid is a vitamin B that is found in many fruits and vegetables. A pregnant woman not meeting the needs of the right amount of Folic Acid can cause the fetus to develop abnormalities of the brain or spinal cord which are known as neural tube defects.


Sometimes chromosomes and genes can be abnormal. Abnormalites in chromosomes and genes can inherited from the parents. Most birth defects the r due to genetic factors usually cause more than just the obvious defect in a single body part. Many brith defects are caused by unexplained and random changes (mutations) in the genes of the child.


Sometimes when a woman has certain infections while pregnant, it can cause birth defects in the baby. it really depends on th e age of the fetus. some of the most common infections in pregnant women that can cause birth defects are ytomegalovirus, herpesvirus, parvovirus, chickenpox, toxoplasmosis (which can be transmitted in cat litter), and some others. the woman sometimes may not even know they have these infection.

Structural and functional birth defects

There are two main type/categories of birth defects; structural and functional or developmental birth defects.

Structural birth defects are related to the body, body parts, and structure. some structural with defects include: cleft lip or cleft palate, heart defects, structure of it, abnormal limbs, and neural tube defects

Functional or developmental birth defects are related to a complication with how a body part or a system of the body works/functions. Some intellectual or developmental disabilities are: nervous system or brain complications, sensory problems, metabolic disorders, and degenerative disorders


Cerebral Palsy

  • Cerebral Palsy is a disability that affects moment and posture.
  • It is a physical disability and is the most common physical disability in kids.
  • About 17 MILLION people live with this disability all over the world.
  • There is no known cause of cerebral palsy and there is also no cure,

Down Syndrome

  • Down Syndrome is a disability cause by an extra chromosome 21. Down Syndrome is also known as Trisomy 21. A child with down syndrome will have three chromosome 21s instead of two of them.
  • People with this disorder have some certain physical features such as a flatter looking face than normal.
  • Each year about 6,000 BABIES are born with Down Syndrome.

Missing or Abnormal Limbs

  • About 1,500 babies in the US are born with upper body reductions.
  • 750 babies are born with lower limb reductions each year.
  • people with this disorder have trouble with normal development such as motor skills and also may need assistance with everyday activities and self care.
  • To help wth this disorder, there are prosthetics, which are artificial limbs, surgery, and therapy.

Interesting Facts

- About 150,000 babies are born each year with birth defects.

- About 3 percent of all children in the us have major malformation at birth.

- 6-7 percent of children show developmental problems by the age of one year and 12-14 percent by school age.

- Birth defects are the leading cause of infant death.

- Approximentally 10% of birth defects seen at birth can be traced back to the cause of it. which can include encironmental, drug, biolofic, or nutritional factors.

- About 20% of birth defects are inherited or caused by chromosomal changes.

- The last 70% of birth defects have unknown causes.

- The medical costs of care for children with disabilities resulting from birth defects have been estimated to exceed $1.4 billion annually.


Created with images by Jing a Ling - "red wintery wine at Osteria Marco" • dennis - "fruit basket" • Hey Paul Studios - "Female Karyotype, 2014"

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