In the U.S., about 1 in 33 babies is born with a birth defect each year, according to the March of Dimes. This makes birth defects the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, accounting for over 20% of all related deaths. Several factors have an impact on how a child is born with a birth defect and whether that defect could have been prevented. Critical evaluations of the biological parents’ genetics, medications mom may have been prescribed, social and environmental factors, and prenatal care and physician choices all could play a role. Not to be confused with a birth injury, not all birth defects are preventable.
- Birth Defects: A birth defect is a health condition that is present at birth. Defects can cause serious problems in a baby’s overall health, how his body develops, and how his/her body works, according to the March of Dimes.
- Birth Injuries: A birth injury is defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of the neonate’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some of these injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available, and others are part of the delivery process that can occur even when clinicians practice extreme caution.”