Birth defects in children: Causes, prevention and treatment

The WHO recommends that you reduce or eliminate exposure to hazardous substances during pregnancy.

The WHO recommends that you reduce or eliminate exposure to hazardous substances during pregnancy.

What you need to know:

  • In about half of all birth defects, there is no specific cause.
  • Spontaneous abortions and stillbirths have been linked to birth defects and neonatal deaths.
  • Maternal infections such as rubella, syphilis, and the Zika virus can result in congenital anomalies.

Birth defects also known as congenital anomalies are considered critical causes of infant and childhood deaths, chronic illness, and disability. The World Health Organization defines birth defects as structural or functional anomalies that occur during intrauterine life. These conditions usually develop prenatally. They may be identified before birth, after birth, and in some cases, much later in life.

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