The Most Common Types of Birth Defects


How do birth defects happen? What can be done to get rid of birth defects? How do I make sure that my baby comes out healthy and safe? Before getting pregnant, it is very important that you take time to understand why and how exactly birth defects happen. More than that, it becomes even more important that you learn the wide range of ways which can be done to help prevent birth defects.

In the United States alone, approximately 120,000 babies are born with birth abnormalities each year. Birth defects are abnormalities which can affect either the structure, function or metabolism which are present at the time the baby is born. This can either result to physical and mental disabilities. Sometimes, it can result to death. Currently, the list of defects have been calculated to be upwards of a thousand. In fact, birth abnormalities, especially the most common birth defects, have been the leading cause of infant mortality.

But what exactly causes birth defects? Sometimes, birth abnormalities are caused by a wide range of environmental factors. In some cases, it is caused by inherited genes. Unfortunately, our list of genetic defects can also be caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. In this article, we will understand how genetic disorders are passed on to a child.

There are two categories of genetic birth defects identified to date.

First, single-gene defects. A change or a mutation in a single gene can cause birth abnormalities. Every person has approximately 20,000 to 25,000 genes which determine the traits that he is bound to have. For instance, the hair color and the skin color, will have to depend on the genes that one has. The genes are also responsible for the functioning and the development of the body systems. Offsprings get about half of their genes from their parents. – This is why families with a history of genetic defects become more prone to giving birth to a child with a defect. This is what we call recessive inheritance. If both parents have an abnormal gene, there is a 50 percent chance of passing on the disorder to their child.

The second category of genetic birth defects is what we refer to as chromosomal birth defects. The abnormalities in the structure of chromosomes may also cause defects. More often than not, this is caused by an error which may have occurred when the egg or the sperm cell was developing. When such error occurs, a baby is born with either too few or too many chromosomes. Some of the common genetic defects under this category include the following health problems: heart defects, cleft lip, Down Syndrome and Spina bifida. Heart defects affect 1 in every 100 babies born in the United States every year. Cleft lip affect 1 in every 700 babies each year. Down syndrome, on the other hand, affects 1 in every 700 newborns yearly. Spina befida is the most rare in this group affecting only about 1 in every 2,500 infants every year.

Because there remains no surefire way to get rid of the wide range of list of genetic defects, maximize everything that can be done to at least lessen the risks of having to deal with. It starts off by keeping yourself knowledgeable – be informed now.