What Are Congenital Abnormalities?

Posted on September 17th, 2018 by Orthopaedic Specialty Group

Did you know, according to the CDC, approximately every 4 1/2 minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States — this translates to nearly 120,000 babies affected annually!

These birth defects, or congenital abnormalities, can vary from mild to severe and affect almost any part (or parts) of the body.

What Causes a Congenital Abnormality?

Congenital abnormalities can occur during any stage of pregnancy, and for most types of defects, a clear cause isn’t always known. Some factors may include:

  • Genetics
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals or medications before birth
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Issues with the division of DNA in the earliest days of life
  • Problems in the prenatal environment including shape, size, and amount of amniotic fluid
  • Infections during pregnancy
  • A combination of the above

Common Birth Defects

Congenital abnormalities typically fall into two classifications, structural or functional and developmental.

Structural defects include heart defects, cleft lip or palate, spina bifida, clubfoot, or other defects where a body part is malformed or missing.

Functional or developmental defects include down syndrome, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, or other defects that cause the body not to work correctly.

How Are Birth Defects Treated?

Based on the severity of the congenital abnormality, treatment will vary. In some cases, the defect can be corrected before or shortly after birth, where others may live with the defect for the rest of their lives. Your doctor will be able to review the appropriate treatment options for your child, though they may include medications, surgeries, at home care, or even non-surgical options like physical therapy.

Our team of licensed physicians offers a comprehensive range of treatments designed to fix virtually any bone or joint in your body. With six convenient locations throughout Fairfield County, help is never far away. Request an appointment online, or call (203) 337-2600.