Causes of Birth Defects

Birth defects or abnormalities in a child at birth can happen due to knowingly or unknowingly causing harm to the child that is still in the womb. While such causes can environmental that could be avoided there are other reasons of inheritance like abnormalities in structure or gene defect over which there is little or no control.

Physiological conditions of parent’s could lead a child to acquire chromosome disorder or defective genes. This could cause serious birth defects like sickle cell anemia or Down syndrome.

Environmental causes are the ones that could be attributed to known events like exposure to hazardous chemicals. Even a father exposed to certain chemical, say lithium, before conception could pass the ailment through the semen.

Similarly, birth defect could be drug caused. Drugs like Thalidomide, certain anti-biotic or anticonvulsant drug administered to a mother during pregnancy could leave behind irreparable scars in the life of the new born. Vasoconstrictor drugs like Cocaine can cause shrinkage of blood vessels leading to reduction of limbs and miscarriage.

High level of glucose in the expectant mother’s body could be yet another cause of defect. Even exposure to major radiation even for the purpose of medical treatment could have a lasting effect of the unborn child causing birth defects.

Attack by virus particularly measles causing rubella virus or listeria and cytomegalo virus that can invade the mother’s body through cheese or meat intake can cause serious harm to the fetus. Thus infection or chronic illness of a pregnant mother can cause defects of varying degree. Teratogenic causes could also result in birth defects. Rubella, Syphilis, HIV and the like that are diseases transmitted through different agents could wreck havoc in the life of the child as well as that of the parents.

Dietary imbalance or deficient intake of right food in right time or not getting enough folic acid through food could have an effect in the growth of the child and cause birth defects an could be as serious as to affect the functioning of the heart. Birth defect could happen due to a pregnant woman’s excessive intake of alcohol or smoking or even a reckless life-style and not having regular exercise.

The known causes of birth defects could be many and there are many more causes that are yet undiscovered. Thus it is advisable for every parent to be cautious and careful so as to avoid recklessness in life and go by the guidance of the knowledgeable and experienced people and surely follow doctor’s advice.