Birth Defects and Congenital Anomalies

Also known as: congenital abnormalities, congenital disorders.

What are birth defects and congenital anomalies?

Any unusual physical feature or health problem that is present at the birth of a baby is known as a birth defect or a congenital anomaly. They can range from mild to severe. Some can even threaten a baby’s life and require immediate medical treatment.

What causes birth defects and congenital anomalies?

Sometimes the cause of birth defects is not known. In other instances, it’s the result of the trait being passed down from family members, or an unusual characteristic in a child’s genes. Environmental factors like smoking or drug use can also cause birth defects. Sometimes the defect is caused by a variety of factors.

What are the symptoms of birth defects and congenital anomalies?

The symptoms and severity of birth defects and congenital anomalies varies widely. Some, such as cleft lips, can be repaired with surgery. Others like Down syndrome are a condition that cannot be cured.

What are birth defects and congenital anomalies care options?

Many birth defects, even severe heart defects, can be repaired with surgery shortly after birth. Supportive care is available for other defects that cannot be cured.


Reviewed by: Parul B Jayakar, MD

This page was last updated on: January 09, 2020 09:53 AM

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The Fetal Care Center is dedicated to families expecting an infant with medical needs that require intervention at birth. The facility offers comprehensive, coordinated care from prenatal diagnosis to delivery, postnatal care and the transition to infant care.

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Genetic Diseases

Genetic diseases are conditions that occur due to a mutation in a gene in the body’s cells. Learn more

Down Syndrome

Babies with down syndrome have an extra full or partial piece of chromosome 21, this causes a variety of physical abnormalities. It is the commonest chromosomal disorder in the USA. Learn more

Developmental Delays

Whenever a child fails to reach a set of developmental milestone for physical/motor, in language and communication, social, or behavioral function, and/or cognitive ability at their expected time, it's known as developmental delay. Learn more

Genetic Counseling

Genetic counseling is a counseling session for parents or prospective parents to help them understand their risk of passing along genes and birth defects to children. Learn more

Genetic Screening

Genetic screening refers to a wide variety of tests performed on blood and tissue to screen for genetic disorders. Learn more