A birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in the mother’s body. Most birth defects happen during the first 3 months of pregnancy. One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.
A birth defect may affect how the body looks, works or both. Some birth defects like cleft lip or neural tube defects are structural problems that can be easy to see. To find others, like heart defects, doctors use special tests. Birth defects can range from mild to severe. Causes can include
For most birth defects, the cause is unknown.
Health care providers can diagnose certain birth defects during pregnancy, with prenatal tests. That’s why it important to get regular prenatal care. Other birth defects may not be found until after the baby is born. Sometimes the defect is obvious right away. Other times, the health care provider may not discover it until later in life.
Babies with birth defects often need special care and treatments. The treatments may include surgery, medicines, assistive devices, and therapies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Diastrophic dysplasia is a disorder of cartilage and bone development. Affected individuals have short stature with very short arms and legs. Most also have early-onset joint pain (osteoarthritis) and joint deformities called contractures, which restrict movement. These joint problems often make it difficult to walk and tend to worsen with age. Additional features of diastrophic dysplasia include an inward- and upward-turning foot (clubfoot), progressive abnormal curvature of the spine, and unusually positioned thumbs (hitchhiker thumbs). About half of infants with diastrophic dysplasia are born with an opening in the roof of the mouth (a cleft palate). Swelling of the external ears is also common in newborns and can lead to thickened, deformed ears.The signs and symptoms of diastrophic dysplasia are similar to those of another skeletal disorder called atelosteogenesis type 2; however, diastrophic dysplasia tends to be less severe. Although some affected infants have breathing problems, most people with diastrophic dysplasia live into adulthood.