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: 6/21/2019 2:24:46 AM