Birth defects affect 1 in every 33 babies in the United States, and are the leading cause of infant deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, what are the most common birth defects in the United States, what does treatment look like, and what is the process of the diagnosis of birth defects?
Diagnosis of Birth Defects
Every birth defect is different, and some can even be diagnosed while in the womb and before birth. However, it is recommended that after your child is diagnosed, you and your family receive a second opinion as soon as possible.
Birth defects that may be diagnosed in the womb may be:
- Congenital heart defects
- Spina Bifida
- Down syndrome
During pregnancy, a woman is provided with several options to screen the unborn child and check the health and well-being of the child through a number of tests.
Some of these tests may include screening tests, early on in the pregnancy, diagnostic tests, ultrasounds, and Amniocentesis. See a full list of during pregnancy testing options and what they include.
Most Common Birth Defects (In no specific order)
Cleft palate or lip
A cleft palate or lip is a common birth defect that happens when a baby is born with an opening or split in the roof of the mouth or lip.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in every 1,700 are born with a cleft palate, and about 1 in every 2,800 babies are born with a cleft lip in the United States.
Congenital heart defects
“Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the United States, affecting nearly 1% (about 40,000) of births per year. CHDs are present at birth, and they affect the structure of a baby’s heart and the way it works.” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Down syndrome, also called trisomy 21, is caused by a genetic mutation in the individual’s genetic makeup that causes developmental delays and a specific appearance of facial features. About 1 in every 700 babies in the United States are born with Down syndrome.
This birth defect affects an individual’s spine and is most commonly diagnosed before the baby is born and still in the womb.
“Each year approximately 1,400 babies born in the United States have spina bifida, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The exact cause of spina bifida is unknown. There is no cure but most people with spina bifida lead long and productive lives. Scientists suspect genetic, nutritional, and environmental factors all play a role in spina bifida. People with spina bifida have different abilities and medical issues.” – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
This defect is a physical attribute in which the child’s foot is turned inward and has been formed incorrectly in the womb. The causes of clubfoot are unknown but are treatable without surgery.
The Unforgotten Families is a proud advocacy organization for children and families living with birth defects, and those part of the medically complex/fragile community. To learn more about how The Unforgotten Families may be able to help your family, please visit our website or watch one of our impactful videos from real-life families.