Birth Defects

Birth Defects

One in 33 babies is born with a birth defect. Many birth defects are preventable.

Birth defects are serious conditions that are changes to the structure of one or more parts of the body. Birth defects affect one in every thirty-three babies born in the United States each year. Birth defects are one of the leading causes of infant deaths, accounting for more than 20% of all infant deaths.

The cause of 70% of birth defects is still unknown. However, we have learned a lot about birth defects and how women can improve their chances of having a baby born without a birth defect.


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10 things you should know about birth defects

1. Birth defects are common

Birth defects affect 1 in 33 babies every year and cause 1 in 5 infant deaths. For many babies born with a birth defect, there is no family history of the condition.

Basic facts about birth defects

Birth Defects Are Common

Every four and a half minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States. That translates into nearly 120,000 babies affected by birth defects each year.

Birth defects can affect almost any part of the body (e.g., heart, brain, foot). They may affect how the body looks, works, or both. Birth defects can vary from mild to severe.