If you know someone who is disabled, they may have a condition on this birth defects list. Most parents only hope for a healthy and happy baby. The mom eats all the right food, goes to every doctors appointment and gets plenty of rest. However, there can be unforeseen problems before, during and after birth that affect the baby's well-being. Although birth defects can be devastating, there are some that are treatable. Here is a health guide to the top five defects.
- Cerebral palsy: This birth defect can be caused at any time during pregnancy or after the baby is born. It affects motor and brain function. Babies aren't diagnosed with the defect until several months afterward. They have difficulty moving their arms and legs due to the lack of muscle control. Physicians may notice this type of palsy during routine check-ups. Often parents will notice problems and consult a doctor themselves. CT Scans and MRIs are two of the ways to diagnose the condition. Treatment for the condition includes physical therapy and medication.
- Clubfoot: Clubfoot is a physical birth problem that affects the ankles, nerves and muscles of the feet. The foot may be turned inward slightly or more severely. This defect is corrected by applying a cast right after birth. If this method is unsuccessful, the little guy or girl will need surgery to correct the problem.
- Spina bifida: Spinal bifida is a serious birth defect on the list. It occurs during the first month after conception. The area around the spinal cord doesn't close correctly or completely. It leaves the vital organs exposed and can lead to organ failure of the bowel and bladder. If not properly treated, paralysis and even death may occur.
- Anencephaly: When part of the brain doesn't develop, it is called anencephaly or open skull. The bones may not develop in the front or back of the head. It leaves the brain exposed. Since the condition is found well before birth, tests are completed by taking samples of the amniotic fluid or by ultrasound. Although the defect is found early, 75 percent of the babies are miscarried or stillborn. The other 25 percent die soon after birth. There is no cure for this birth defect as of yet.
- Cleft palate: Cleft palate is a defect that affects the nasal cavity and the roof of the mouth. Babies will have difficulty speaking and eating when they have a cleft palate. This birth condition is the most common in the world. However, it mostly occurs in Latino, Asian and Native American babies. It is treated by surgical means.
This list of birth defects has only five of the hundreds that affect infants. For those who have children with health problems, it can be a serious matter. It can affect you emotionally, mentally and financially. Parents should seek support groups when they need help, guidance or encouragement.