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How common are birth defects in the United States?

While some defects are truly the result of genetics, there are a significant number that result from errors made by medical professionals or facilities during the pregnancy or delivery. Birth defects are far more common than you might imagine, with one in every 33 babies born having some form of birth defect which equates to one baby with a defect being born less than every five minutes.

 

What  medical condition is necessary to officially label it a birth defect? 

birth defect is defined as a physical or genetic abnormality that was present when the person was born. These can either be due to something that happened in the womb before birth, it can be the result of a genetic anomaly, or it can be the result of doctor or medical staff negligence. Birth defects can happen at any time during the pregnancy or during the birth process and no pregnancy is impervious to birth defect. Some defects are easily identifiable and a cause can be pinpointed and determined. A good example is something like fetal alcohol syndrome. This is caused by the mother consuming alcohol while the baby is in utero. This is a preventable disorder. For others, there is less reason behind why the defect occurs and what actually caused it.

Causes of birth defects

There are some things that you can pinpoint as distinct causes for birth defects or at the very least, factors that may lead to defect. Drinking during pregnancy, use of drugs during pregnancy, medical conditions, taking certain medicines, having a family history of birth defects, and even being older all have the potential to cause birth defects in babies. These risk factors do not necessarily mean that you are going to have a child with a defect, you could have several factors and still have a perfectly healthy child. These are all factors that should be discussed with your doctor so that when you are going to your routine doctor visits you can keep an eye on the development of the baby.

There are other factors however that can also lead to birth defect. There are also defects that can be caused to an otherwise healthy child during the birth process. Anyone that has seen birth first hand knows that it can be very intense, very laborious, and it does require the supervision of a medical staff and doctor. That being said, there are some cases in which a doctor or medical staff may do more harm than good. In cases where birth assisting tools are not properly used, where the doctor does not detect that the fetus is in distress, a cesarean section is not performed soon enough, or even that the baby’s oxygen is not properly monitored, these are all considered to be medical malpractice birth defects. Some of these instances may not have a long lasting negative effect on a baby while others can lead to lifelong struggle and even death of the baby.

What to do

Being pregnant and having a baby is a beautiful thing but if your baby is damaged, harmed, or a defect is detected it can be a huge stressor for the mother. That being said, you can help to keep track of defects and make sure that they are well documented during pregnancy. Your doctor or other medical professional will mark any noted or noticed defects during your routine visits so that they can create a course or treatment or measures to manage the defect once the baby is born. Regular doctor visits can help catch defects that are present in utero.

No one can predict that their doctor is going to cause harm to their baby while they are being born. If you feel that your baby has a birth defect that is the direct result of medical malpractice or negligence it is always best to take the time to speak with a lawyer about what can be done. Living with a birth defect or raising a child that has a birth defect can be trying both mentally and financially and knowing that there is something that can be done is often helpful and somewhat reassuring.

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