Key points about birth defects in children
- A birth defect is a health problem or abnormal physical change that is present when a baby is born. Birth defects range from very mild to life-threatening and limiting.
- Birth defects can happen for many reasons. But often the cause isn’t known.
- Many birth defects can be diagnosed before birth with tests. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about testing.
- The risk for birth defects varies by type of defect, family health history, age of parents and other factors. Your provider can tell you more about your risk of having a child with a birth defect.
- There is no cure for birth defects. But children can often be treated to help reduce problems.
- Researchers are trying to find ways to prevent many birth defects. Not all birth defects can be prevented. Taking steps to be healthy before and during pregnancy is important.
Frequently Asked Questions
Prevention and Risk Assessment
What is a birth defect in children?
What causes birth defects in a child?
Which children are at risk for birth defects?
What are the symptoms of birth defects in a child?
What are possible complications of birth defects in a child?
How can I help prevent birth defects in my child?
How are birth defects diagnosed in a child?
How are birth defects treated in a child?
How can I help my child live with a birth defect?
Departments that Treat Birth Defects
Rare Disease Institute - Genetics and Metabolism
Children's National Rare Disease Institute (CNRDI) is a first-of-its-kind center focused exclusively on advancing the care and treatment of children and adults with rare genetic diseases.
Cancer Genetics Program
Our cancer genetics experts help answer important questions about your child's inherited risk for cancer.