How much do you know about birth defects? The likelihood is that, much like a great many expecting parents, you probably don’t know as much as you feel that you should. This is why we have spoken to family health expert Lisa M. Cannon to bring you the top 10 things that you need to know about birth defects and how they can affect families. Let’s take a look.


Quiet incredibly birth defects are not as rare as you may think and these afflictions affect 1 in every 33 babies born in the USA each year.

No History

Somewhat more surprisingly the majority of babies who suffer from a birth defect have absolutely no family history of the condition, further confusing medical professionals who look for ways to avoid such problems.


In math terms a birth defect is a very costly situation and in the last year alone this resulted in 140,000 hospital stays at a cost of $2.6 billion. This cost is of course shared between both family and hospitals.


 Many birth defects are incredibly dangerous for children and 1 in 5 deaths in babies happens because of birth defects. Many of those who live past their first birthday can face challenges for the rest of their lives.


Such is the advancing technology in this field we can now diagnose a large number of birth defects during the pregnancy which can help families to plan for their new arrival better. Down syndrome for example is something which places a lot of pressure on a family and this is one of the conditions which we can diagnose during pregnancy.

Post Diagnosis

The large majority of babies who are born with defects will not be found instantly and the diagnosis for such conditions are usually made during their first year of life. Some are easy to spot of course such as a cleft lip or an organ which isn’t fully developed, but most will not be seen right away.

Folic Acid

pregnant women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid each day as this is what can greatly help to develop the baby’s spine and brain. The spine and brain are often causes of birth defects so folic acid can greatly help.

More than Genetics

There are many conditions which come down to genetics but not all birth defects are written in the stars. In fact many birth defects are caused during the pregnancy based on the behaviors of the expecting mum, and the way in which the baby develops in the womb.


Unborn children are not protected entirely from the outside world simply because they are in the mother’s womb because the placenta is not a strong barrier. This is why expecting mothers must take care of both themselves and the baby.

No Alcohol

There is no amount of alcohol that is safe for a pregnant mother to drink and this is why it should be avoided at all costs. Alcohol contributes to a wide number of defects and no mother should indulge in it at all.