Birth defects are structural abnormalities that affect the development of organs and tissues of an infant or child. These abnormalities may be identifies during pregnancy, at birth, or following birth. Most birth defects are thought to be caused by a complex mix of factors. These factors include our genes, our behaviors, and things in the environment. For some birth defects, we know the cause, but for most, we do not.
Some risk factors that may predispose one for having a child born with a birth defect are tobacco, alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, poor diet, lack of exercise, exposure to certain chemicals, and certain maternal characteristics such as the motherís age, education level, race, and socioeconomic status.
The Birth Defects Program helps babies born with birth defects get the right healthcare services. We also track which birth defects are most common in the state over time.