There are many different types of birth defects. Some are minor and don't require treatment while others are life-threatening.
Birth defects occur when there is something wrong with the fetus or baby while in the womb. They can affect any part of the body, including the eyes, ears, limbs, face, genitals, internal organs, and spine.
There are many different types of birth defects, each with its own set of symptoms. Some birth defects are obvious right away, while others may not show up until later in life.
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To diagnose a birth defect, doctors usually look at the baby's physical features and medical history. Sometimes, a doctor may order a special test called an ultrasound. This helps doctors see what parts of the baby's body are developing normally and what parts aren't.
If a doctor suspects a birth defect, she might recommend genetic testing. Genetic tests can tell whether a person has a certain gene mutation that could cause a specific type of birth defect.
This is a condition where part of the spinal cord does not form properly. As a result, the baby cannot control its bladder or bowels.
Spina bifida occurs in about 1 out of every 1000 births.
This is a rare type of birth defect where there is no brain.
Anencephaly occurs in about 1 out of every 5000 births.
This is another rare type of birth defect. In hydrocephaly, fluid accumulates in the skull causing swelling.
Hydrocephaly occurs in about one out of every 10 000 births.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most common birth defects seen in newborn babies. It affects movement and muscle coordination.
Children born with cerebral palsy usually have trouble walking or talking, and many need special equipment to move around. They also require physical therapy to improve their mobility.
Hypospadias is a condition where the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of the top. It's the second most common birth defect after Down syndrome.
Hypospadias occurs in about 1 in every 500 boys born each year.
Most cases of hypospadias occur because of problems during fetal development.
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defect seen at birth. They occur in about 1% of newborn babies.
Heart defects are usually detected early in pregnancy because they cause symptoms such as shortness of breath or fatigue.
If left untreated, these defects can lead to death.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is one of the most common birth defects seen in newborn babies. It occurs when there is a hole or opening in the wall separating the two chambers of the heart.
This condition is usually diagnosed within the first few days after birth. VSDs can cause serious problems such as congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, and arrhythmias.
Neural tube defects are one of the most common birth defects. They occur when the neural tube fails to close properly after conception.
Neural tube defects affect about 1 in every 1000 babies born each year.
Neural tube closure occurs early in pregnancy, usually within the first few weeks. If the neural tube does not close completely, a baby has a hole or opening through his skull called a cranial meningocele. This condition causes fluid to leak into the brain, causing swelling and pressure. It also affects the spinal cord and sometimes the eyes.
Kernicterus is a rare condition that occurs in newborn babies. It's caused by a buildup of toxic substances called bilirubin in the baby's brain. Bilirubin is produced naturally in the liver.
Bilirubin is normally eliminated through the bile duct into the intestine where it passes through the liver again. If the bile ducts aren't working properly, bilirubin can accumulate in the bloodstream. This causes jaundice, or yellow skin and eyes.
If the bilirubin levels reach dangerous levels, the baby may experience seizures, coma, and death.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) occurs when oxygen levels in the baby's brain drop below normal. It happens when there is not enough oxygen available to the baby's brain after delivery. HIE can cause permanent damage to the baby's brain.
HIE is one of the leading causes of death or disability in newborns.
Down syndrome occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 21. It affects about 1 in every 800 babies born each year.
People with Down syndrome have characteristic facial features, such as a large forehead, wide mouth, full cheeks, flat nose, and small chin. They also tend to have short stature, low muscle tone, and poor coordination.
Some people with Down syndrome have mild learning disabilities; others do not. Most people with Down syndrome live into adulthood.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are two of the most common birth defects seen at birth. They occur because the lips or roof of the mouth do not close properly during pregnancy.
If you have a baby who has either of these conditions, there are many things you can do to improve his quality of life.
There are several different types of clefts, each with its own set of symptoms and treatments.
Erb's palsy occurs when the nerve that controls movement in one arm or leg gets damaged during childbirth. It usually happens because the baby's head is too big to pass through the mother's pelvis.
If left untreated, it can cause permanent paralysis.
Erb's palsies occur in about 1 in every 3,000 births.
Clubfoot is one of the most common birth defects seen in newborn babies. It occurs when the baby's foot doesn't properly form or align correctly.
This condition usually happens because of problems with the developing bones and muscles of the baby's feet.
If left untreated, clubfoot can cause permanent damage to the joints and ligaments of the foot.
Ankyloglossia is a condition where the tongue cannot fully retract into the mouth. It occurs in about 1% of newborn babies.
If left untreated, ankyloglossia can cause speech problems, difficulty swallowing, and breathing difficulties.
Treatment options include surgery or laser therapy.
Cephalohematomas are the most common birth defect seen at birth. They occur when there is bleeding into the scalp area.
They usually appear within 24 hours after delivery. Most babies born prematurely do not have cephalohematomas.
If you notice any redness or swelling on your baby's head, call your doctor immediately.
Spinal cord injuries occur in about 1 in every 3,000 births.
An estimated 2,500 babies are born each year with a spinal cord injury.
About half of these cases are due to trauma, such as a car accident or fall downstairs.
Other causes include congenital abnormalities, infection, and tumors.
Most people who sustain a spinal cord injury do not regain full use of their limbs.
They usually retain some sensation and movement below the level of the injury.
Contact one of our local Maryland birth injury law offices should you require a free case consultation.