Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works.
There are thousands of different birth defects. About 120,000 babies in the United States are born each year with a birth defect. The most common birth defects are heart defects, cleft lip and cleft palate, Down syndrome and spina bifida. While there’s been lots of research, we still don’t know the causes of some birth defects.
Some birth defects are caused by genetic conditions. Genetic conditions are passed from parents to children through genes. The baby could get something from his mother, his father, or both parents that can cause a birth defect.
Saving babies through birth defects prevention and research
Every 4 ½ minutes, a baby is born with a major birth defect in the United States. That’s 1 in 33 babies. Birth defects are structural changes in one or more parts of the body that are present at birth. Examples include heart defects, neural tube defects, microcephaly, and gastroschisis.
- 1 in 10 pregnant women report using alcohol during the past 30 days, and 9 in 10 women report using one or more medications in pregnancy, despite the fact that we lack sufficient evidence on safety for 9 out of 10 medications.
- The majority of the world’s population today is not covered through folic acid fortification and efforts to implement fortification in lower-resourced countries face complex obstacles.
Popular diet could increase risk of birth defects
New research demonstrates that consuming a low-carbohydrate diet during pregnancy may increase the risk of certain birth defects by 30 percent.
A new study finds a link between low-carb diets and birth defects.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are malformations of the brain, spine, and spinal cord. They develop before birth and include spina bifida, wherein the spinal column does not close completely, and anencephaly, wherein large portions of brain and skull are missing.
Research carried out over decades conclusively demonstrated that folic acid can reduce the risk of babies being born with NTDs.
As soon as the fortification began, cases of birth defects plummeted. Adding folic acid to food prevents more than 1,300 NTDTrusted Source cases each year in the United States.
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