Birth Defects

About one in every thirty-three babies is affected with a birth defect each year. A baby can contract a birth defect while it is developing in the mother’s stomach. It is said that most birth defects happen during the first three months of pregnancy and that they can affect almost any part of the body. Some birth defects may be diagnosed before birth, while others are diagnosed even after the baby has left the hospital. This means that a lot of birth defects are not found right after birth. During pregnancy, or even before, there are a number of factors that may cause birth defects. While most women are aware of birth defects, all expectant mothers should be aware of the causes of birth defects and how to prevent them.
     There are a few different types of birth defects, but the two main types are those that are structural and functional/developmental. Problems associated with body parts are structural birth defects. Heart defects are a type of structural defect. A functional birth defect is a problem in how a body part/system works. Down syndrome is a type of functional birth defect.
    Heart defects and Down syndrome are two of the most common and often times fatal birth defects. According to CDC (n.d.),”about 1 in every 100 to 200 babies is born with a heart defect. Heart defects make up about one-third to one-fourth of all birth defects” (What are the most common birth defects?, para.2). A heart defect is an abnormality of any part of the heart and can originate in the first weeks of pregnancy; during this stage of pregnancy, the heart is beginning to develop. Some babies with heart defects have no symptoms and may develop what physicians call a murmur which is innocent. However, other heart defects can cause congestive heart failure. This condition means that the heart is not pumping enough blood to the lungs or the rest of the body which can lead to a build-up. A child with this defect may have a rapid heartbeat or trouble breathing. Some of those...