The Most Common Birth Defects

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a birth defect occurs in one in every thirty-three babies born in the United States. Birth defects are physical or mental abnormalities that are the result of genetic mutations or something in the environment that affected the mother while she was pregnant. Most birth defects happen within the first trimester of pregnancy and can affect every part of the body. They can be so mild that the person is not even aware that they have a birth defect or so severe that the person requires lifelong medical attention and has a shortened lifespan. Some abnormalities can be seen immediately, though others require specific tests to be detected. Keep reading to learn about the most common birth defects now.

Heart Defects


Problems with the heart are the most common category of congenital disabilities, and they are among those abnormalities that need tests to be detected and diagnosed. They most often happen when the organs of the fetus are being formed, which is during the first three months of the pregnancy. Heart defects include tetralogy of Fallot, which interferes with the heart’s ability to pump blood to the lungs. Unfortunately, infants who have this disorder need medical care all of their lives. Other heart defects present at birth are pulmonary atresia, where the pulmonary valve in the heart is malformed. As in tetralogy of Fallot, the blood cannot reach the lungs. Babies can also be born with transposition of the great arteries, where the larger arteries in the heart switch positions, which prevents the blood from having enough oxygen.

Next, reveal another common birth defect that a child can be born with now.