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CDC – Birth Defects are Common, Costly and Critical

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Jarod Cassidy4 years ago

As part of Birth Defecst Awareness and Prevention Month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has begun an educational campaign to inform parents about the emotional and financial challenges birth defects can cause as well as potential risk factors.

The Alarming Statistics of Birth Defects

The CDC estimates that roughly 120,000 babies are born with birth defects every year. This means that one in every 33 babies will be born with some type of defect.

Birth defects are also the leading cause of infant mortality, accounting for one in every five infant deaths; however, even should an infant survives, these conditions can result in lifelong difficulties hampering physical, mental and social development.

Further, birth defects can continue to threaten children later in life and are responsible for 5 to 10 percent of deaths in children under the age of 14.

Most Common Birth Defects

Heart Defects

  • It is estimated that heart defects affect about 1 in every 100 births in the United States – 40,000 newborns every year – making it the most common birth defect.
  • It is also among the most costly, costing hospitals roughly $ 1.4 million a year.
  • Infants born with heart defects may develop irregular heartbeat, an increased risk of infection in the heart muscle and an infant’s heart may continue to weaken over time.
  • Specific heart defects include:

    • Atrial Septal Defect
    • Ventricular Septal Defect
    • Transposition of the Great Arteries
    • Tetralogy of Fallot
    • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome
  • The FDA recently required that opioid painkillers update their warning labels after being linked to an increased the risk of congenital heart defects.

Cleft Palate

  • The CDC estimates that cleft palate or cleft lip affects about 1one in every 600 newborns.
  • The condition can lead to the child having problems eating and talking, and may lead to ear infections, loss of hearing and dental problems.
  • Researchers have determined that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors antidepressants (SSRIs) can result in an increased risk of babies being born with cleft palate as well as an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • Similarly, Johnson & Johnson is facing multiple lawsuits after it was determined their drug Topamax resulted increased the risk of a child being born with a cleft lip or palate. 
Reducing the Risk of Birth Defects

While not all birth defects are preventable, the CDC does urge expectant mothers to follow certain measures in an attempt to reduce the risk birth defects.

  • Do not drink alcohol or smoke at any time during pregnancy.
  • Get 400 micrograms of folic acid every day both before and during pregnancy.
  • Follow a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Schedule regular consultations with your healthcare provider.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider about any prescription or over the counter medications you are taking.
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.


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