How To Prevent Birth Defects

How To Prevent Birth Defects
How To Prevent Birth Defects

According to the CDC, one in every thirty-three children born in the U.S. will have a birth defect. That is an astonishing statistic but it accounts for over 120,000 babies born in the U.S. each year. There are thousands of different but common birth defects that have been identified and they range widely in the severity of their disability.

A birth defect can be described as an abnormality in the structure, the function or the body chemistry of a child that is present at the time of the child’s birth. The birth defect often results in physical or mental disabilities or it can even lead to the death of the child.

Birth defects are the number one cause of death in a child’s first year. There are many factors that can lead to birth defects, environment and genetic factors are two of the most frequent causes, but around 70 percent of all birth defects are of unknown origin.

Genetic Birth Defects

Genetic birth defects can be placed into three categories, single gene birth defects, chromosomal birth defects, and multifactorial birth defects.

An example of a single gene birth defect would be Achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism.

An example of a chromosomal birth defect would be Down syndrome, children with this defect experience varying degrees of intellectual disabilities and characteristic facial features.

An example of a multifactorial birth defect would be the cleft lip and the cleft palate which leaves an opening in the lip or roof of the mouth.

These are genetic birth defects and unavoidable in most instances. Environmental birth defects, on the other hand, can be prevented in many instances. Environmental substances that can cause birth defects are called teratogens.

Teratogens Can Be Avoided

Teratogens include alcohol, certain drugs and medications, certain chemicals, even infections. One environmental birth defect that is preventable is called fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), this common birth defect affects between 1,000 and 6,000 newborns each year.

This is a common birth defect among mothers who drink excessively during their pregnancy.  Please think about the welfare of the child before drinking alcohol when you are pregnant or planning pregnancy. Unfortunately there is no way to predict how much alcohol is too much, even moderate or light drinking during pregnancy may harm the baby.

Pregnant mothers should avoid illegal drugs like cocaine and Ecstasy, they may cause birth defects. There are many prescription drugs that can cause birth defects as well. Many drugs should be avoided during pregnancy, in fact you should not use any drug, not even over the counter medications or herbal preparations, unless recommended by a physician.

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Birth defects can be avoided if a mother is careful of her diet and aware of the drugs she uses while she is pregnant. Always let your doctor know you are pregnant when they are prescribing medication for you, and read all the warning labels on the drugs you are already taking to be sure they are safe for pregnancy. If you or a loved one have delivered a child with birth defects that you feel may be related to a prescription drug you were taking during your pregnancy, please contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.

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