Birth Defects Awareness and Prevention Month – 2014
Every 4.3 minutes, a child is born with a major birth defect which can result in serious health complications and hinder the child’s ability to develop physically and mentally. These defects can also increase a child’s risk of suffering from serious illness and long-term disability.
It is an unfortunate truth that not all birth defects are preventable; however, by raising awareness and educating future parents on what factors may result in an increased risk of birth defects, the National Birth Defects Prevention Networks (NBDPN) hopes that it can reduce the number of defects that occur every year.
This is the purpose of Birth Defects Awareness and Prevention Month.
Birth Defect Statistics for the United States
While birth defects for most families seem to be few in number and far away, the actual numbers are staggering.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently estimates that 1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect – one child every 4.3 minutes.
- Birth defects are also the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, responsible for more than 20 percent of all infant deaths or roughly 5,600 deaths a year.
Congenital heart defects are the most common form of birth defects and include:
- Conoventicular septal defects
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome
- Atrial septal defect
- Tetroloty of Fallot
CDC Advises against the Use of Some Medications while Pregnant
While expectant mothers are commonly told to make healthy choices and avoid alcohol, cigarettes and illicit “street” drugs, the CDC and NBDPN also urge pregnant women to consult their doctors over any medications they are taking as these too may be linked to an increased risk of birth defects.
Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a new regulation which requires all opioid based pain medications to carry a new black box warning label identifying that opioids have been linked to birth defects including:
- Spina bifida
- Congenital heart defects
Additionally, some developers of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are facing lawsuits for failing to adequately warn expectant mothers of an increased risk of birth defects including:
- Cleft Lip
- Cleft Palate
- Heart Defects
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn
- Craniosynostosis (skull defects)
Contact an Experienced Child Injury Attorney
At Thomas J. Henry, we have the experience and resources to handle your child’s case. If your child has been the victim of a serious birth injury, contact our offices. We represent clients/victims all over the country. We are available 24/7, nights and weekends.