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How common are birth defects, and what can cause them?

On Behalf of | Aug 2, 2022 | Birth injury

New Jersey parents don’t expect anything to go wrong when their children are born. However, some newborns have birth defects. Knowing how common they are and what might cause them is important.

How common are birth defects?

Birth defects may not always be immediately noticeable. Some are apparent right away. Around 120,000 babies are affected annually. This number comes to around one out of every 33 infants.

While some birth defects can pose significant challenges for the child for their entire life, others might be minor. Those that are minor may not affect the child’s everyday life.

What can cause birth defects?

Different factors can lead to a baby being born with birth defects. They can also develop at any point in pregnancy and even in any pregnancy. The following can put an unborn baby at risk for birth defects:

  • Alcohol use
  • Smoking
  • Using certain medications
  • Not enough folic acid
  • Certain types of infections
  • Environmental exposure to toxins
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes that isn’t under control

What are some common birth defects?

Certain types of birth defects are very common. Some affect a specific body part and are obvious just by looking at the child. Others are not visible. Down’s syndrome is one of the most common examples. It occurs when there is an extra chromosome. Spina bifida can develop when there is a lack of folic acid intake during a mother’s pregnancy.

Hearing loss is one of the birth defects that aren’t visible. Congenital heart disease is another example of an unseen birth defect.

Cleft palate is a common type of birth defect that can seriously impact a child’s life. A port-wine birthmark is considered a harmless example of a birth defect.

Some birth defects can be prevented while others seem to have no known cause.