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Birth Defects: What Causes Them?

Causes of Birth Defects

Birth defects are common. In today’s world, children born with birth defects have faced a tough childhood filled with taunts and gradually resulting in low self confidence. There is no fault of theirs here. It is natural and can happen to anybody.

While still in the womb of the mother, babies may have complications with the functioning of their organs, their formation and also how their bodies turn the food to energy. These kind of health problems are called birth defects.

[ You might be interested in this: Preventing Birth Defects: Happy Inside The Womb!]

There are more than 4000 different kinds of birth defects which have been diagnosed, researched and reported. Some of them are minor and do not need surgeries, but there are quite a few which can get severe and need immediate or eventual treatment with surgeries.

If a baby is born with a particular part of the body which is deformed or missing, it is called Structural Birth Defect. If a baby is born with a problem in his or her body chemistry it is called a Metabolic Birth Defect.

The causes of birth defects are classified into two main types:

Birth Defects

Environmental Causes: These type of causes are mostly external in nature which occur due to the presence of certain infections which can affect the child during pregnancy. Apart from the presence of diseases, conditions like alcohol abuse also affect the foetus to a great extent which is called Foetal Alcohol Syndrome. Certain medications taken by the mother also maybe the cause of birth defects.

Genetic Causes: The conditions which are a result of genetic causes are one of the major causes of birth defects. Each cell in the body is made up different chromosomes which contains genes which in turn builds up different characteristics in a person. During conception, a baby inherits one of each chromosome. One from the mother and the other of the father. If something goes wrong during the transfer of chromosomes, certain defects are caused in the body of the baby.

One such defect which is caused due to unequal exchange of chromosomes is Down Syndrome. A baby develops this condition if it inherits more than one chromosome, which becomes an extra compared to only one from each parent.

One other condition which happens usually is when both the parents transfer faulty gene of the same disease to the baby. This is called Recessive Inheritance. It includes conditions such as Tay-sachs disease and Cystic Fibrosis.

A defect can also originate if one parent passes a faulty gene of the disease to the baby. This is called Dominant Inheritance. This usually includes conditions such as Dwarfism and Marfan Syndrome(A condition where a baby has abnormally long fingers, arms or legs). another very common birth defect is the cleft lips or cleft palates.

Lastly, in many male children, often inherit disorders from genes passed on only by their mothers. These disorders are called X-Linked because the genes are carried on by the X chromosome present only in the females. Hemophilia and Colour Blindness falls under this category of genetic birth defect.

In the end, genetic causes are far more complex than environmental causes for birth defects as it is totally internal and tough to source as well especially when treatment is involved. Defects caused by environmental causes are less complex and can be treated easily when compared to genetic causes. Although, now with breakthroughs in genetic research, prevention of birth defects are more effective rather than a cure.

About the Hospital

Ankura Hospitals is a chain of super-specialty hospitals for women and children in the cyber city of Hyderabad. Set up in the year 2011 in KPHB, near Hitech Railway Station, the Ankura Hospitals family has today spread its wings to Secunderabad, Khammam and Vijayawada.

Source: Blogs