What Are the Major Causes of Congenital Anomalies?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 303,000 newborns will die within just four weeks of their birth each year as a result of a congenital anomaly. Congenital anomalies, also known as malformations or birth defects, are caused by problems which arise during the fetus’s development in the womb. Congenital anomalies can directly contribute to a whole host of long-term disabilities which can have a significant impact on the lives not only on the children who are born with them, but also their families, health-care systems and even the wider community. But what are the major causes of congenital anomalies? And can they be predicted before birth?
The Major Causes of Congenital Anomalies
WHO studies have found that approximately 50 percent of all cases of birth defects cannot be attributed to a specific cause. Despite this, there are particular risk factors that are associated with congenital abnormalities.
Genetics play a critical role in many cases of birth defects. This is believed to be inherited by the child through genes which code for an anomaly, or genes which suddenly changed, which is also known as a “mutation”.
Parents who are related by blood (known as consanguinity) may also increase the likelihood of the child developing a birth defect, as consanguinity has been linked to the prevalence of rare genetic birth defects, intellectual disability, and neonatal and childbirth death.
Socioeconomic and Environmental Causes
Environmental factors also play a key role in the development of congenital abnormalities in the womb. It is estimated that 94-percent of severe forms of congenital abnormalities occur in countries with a predominantly low or middle income dominated society. Issues such as maternal age, maternal exposure to chemicals, alcohol or drugs, medications, or radiation during pregnancy also seem to play a significant role in the possibility of the development of birth defects.
Maternal infections are the final major cause of congenital abnormalities in children. Infections such as Herpes, Zika, Syphilis, and Rubella are among the leading causes of fetus birth defects in the world. Infections resulting in birth defects are not isolated to the developing world. In fact, 10 percent of babies born in the United States with the Zika virus were born with birth defects according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Rossetti & DeVoto, PC is presently handling a case involving the herpes simplex virus that caused herpes encephalopathy and severe brain damage and quadriplegia to an infant who now is in need of lifetime care.
Was Your Child Born with a Birth Injury or Birth Defect?
If you are the parent of a child with a congenital abnormality, you should contact an experienced birth injury and cerebral palsy attorney today. In many cases, congenital abnormalities can be predicted by fetal genetic testing as well as from potential warning signs and symptoms present in the mom during her pregnancy. Mistakes can be made, and if not disclosed to you, will result in your child not getting the proper care, treatment, and lifetime services that he or she should receive to enhance their life.
The Law Offices of Rossetti & DeVoto, P.C. are a leading New Jersey and Pennsylvania birth injury firm. We’re here to help families who have children that suffered birth injuries as a result of medical malpractice and obstetrical negligence. We work tirelessly for our clients and will aggressively investigate all cases of congenital abnormalities, including obtaining and scouring any and all medical records to determine if your child was the victim of medical or obstetrical malpractice or negligence.