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: September 09, 2020 11:24 AM

Fetal Care Center

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.

Learn more

Learn more about

Congenital Heart Defects/Disease

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. Learn more

Neurogenetic–Neurometabolic Abnormalities

Neurogenetic and neurometabolic abnormalities are disorders that affect how the brain ( and/or other organs) function. 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 Screening

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