Congenital Birth Defects Essay

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Congenital Birth Defect What is it? Congenital heart disease is a type of defect or malformation in one or more structures of the heart or blood vessels that occurs before birth. These defects occur while the fetus is developing in the uterus. This defect may produce symptoms at birth, during childhood, and sometimes not until adulthood. About 500,000 adults in the U.S. have congenital heart disease. Causes for Congenital Heart Defects In most cases, nothing can be attributed to the heart defect. 85 to 90 percent of congenital heart defects have no known cause. Mothers often wonder if they did something wrong during the pregnancy to cause this problem. Some heart diseases in children occur more often in families, so there may be a genetic link. The risk of having a child with congenital heart disease is higher if a parent or a sibling has a congenital heart defect -- the risk increases from eight in 1,000 to 16 in 1,000.However, there are some factors that are associated with an increased chance of getting congenital heart disease. These risk factors include: • Genetic or chromosomal abnormalities in the child such as Down syndrome. • Taking certain medications or alcohol or drug abuse during pregnancy. • Maternal viral infection, such as rubella (German measles) in the first trimester of pregnancy. How do you know if your baby has Congenital heart Defect? All newborns should get tested to check for serious heart defects before they come home from the hospital. Heart malformations are the most common kind of birth defect. They affect an estimated one out of 100 births worldwide. In 25% of cases, the defects are life-threatening. Though the diagnosis is sometimes missed because a baby’s heart and lungs continue to mature in the first few days after birth and nothing may look or sound wrong. Test Used to Diagnose Congenital Heart

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