What is a birth defect? What causes birth defects? Types of Birth Defects
What is a birth defect?
Birth defect is a deformity or defect that can occur when the baby is in the womb of a mother. These defects or abnormalities (also known as congenital anomalies or congenital abnormalities) are related to structure, function or body metabolism that can be mild or severe which are treatable or untreatable depending on the type of defect from which a baby is suffering. Some of the birth defects are diagnosed before a baby is born and can be treated before the birth, but some need to be treated after the birth as they cannot be diagnosed at an earlier stage or even if they are diagnosed, they cannot be treated before the birth.
There are more than 4000 birth defects out of which some can be cured, some cannot be cured and some may even lead to death.
What causes birth defects?
Birth defects are caused by genetic, environmental or different other factors which are unknown. In most of the cases the communication between genetic and environmental factors causes these birth defects. Some birth defects are caused by congenital infections from which a mother suffers. These infections are caused during or before the birth which results in birth defects. In 60 percent cases the causes are unknown. When parent passes the faulty gene, the child can suffer from abnormality. This is called recessive inheritance. Problems with chromosomes and usage of drugs or alcohol during pregnancy can also cause birth defects.
There are several types of birth defects and few are stated below:
Congenital Heart Defects: These occur in 1 case out of 110 and this is detected by the doctor when the abnormal heart sound is heard. The causes are various and may be because of genetic abnormalities or mistake during fetal development. These can be treated with surgery and drugs.
Cleft Lip or Palate: Exact cause is still not determined but mostly environmental or genetic factors are responsible for this defect. Language development is the problem which can be corrected with the help of speech pathologist. The babies have problem in sucking and are fed in sitting position. Surgical repair of cleft palate is required in is condition.
Underdeveloped or Missing Limbs: The cause for this defect is unknown and many believe that it is a virus which affects the mother. Child would need to go intensive physical therapy and learn to use prosthesis which is an artificial body part.
Clubfoot: this occur in 4 out of 400 and is found more in boy child. It includes ankle and foot deformities and caused due to environmental factors or is heredity. It can be severe or mild and will affect the child once he begins to stand or walk. Special exercises, plasters, bandages are needed for treatment.
Spina Bifida: It occurs in 1 out 0f 200 births and these can be tested during the pregnancy. The cause id malformation of neural tube. It can cause leg paralysis, urinal or bowel movement issues. Within 48 hours of birth the baby needs to be operated and proper exercises for feet and legs is needed.