There are between 3-4 thousand different kinds of birth defects in the world. Unfortunately, 250,000 children in the U.S. are born each year with a type of birth defect. This happens in every 1 in 12 babies. This means that there is 1 baby born every 2 minutes with a birth defect. Sadly, this is a lot of babies! Sometimes the causes are known and sometimes they are unknown.
60% of birth defects have an unknown cause. 40% have a known cause and 20% are genetic. Another 20% of birth defects are caused by the mother or father. The mother could cause the baby to have birth defects by drinking or smoking during pregnancy.
There are three major types of birth defects that are known. Structural is a birth defect that may cause the child to have a missing finger, toe or even an arm. Functional defects is a type that defects the heart and kidneys. Metabolic is the last type of major birth defect which is a hemophilia defect.
There are a few major medications that have been proven to cause birth defects:
1. Tetracycline is a prescription drug taken for acne. Sometimes this prescription is given to a patient to help clear bacteria infections such as pneumonia and a few other respiratory infections. This medication comes in both capsule and liquid form. This causes stained brown teeth in a baby. This cannot be cured and a baby will be stuck with this defect for the rest of his life.
2. Thalidomide is a drug taken for morning sickness. This type of medication could cause the baby to have missing limbs. There are other kinds of prescriptions out there that will help treat morning sickness that do not cause birth defects in a baby. It is important to talk to your Doctor about all of the different options for you.
3. Toxoplasmosis is a disease caused by handling kitty litter or eating deli meat. The Doctors say if you own a cat that you should not be changing the kitty litter during your pregnancy at all. Also if you eat a sandwich with deli meat on it, the meat should be micro waved before it is eaten. If you can it would be eat to avoid Eli meat completely until after you give birth. Toxoplasmosis causes a baby to have serious nervous system disorders.
Sometimes there isn't a way to prevent birth defects however, if you take the necessary precautions there are birth defects that are possible to avoid. Talk to your Doctor so he can help you take all of the precautions that are possible. Make sure you let your Doctor know all of the different medications that you are currently taking. He will then go through each medication individually and will let you know what is safe to use and what is harmful for the baby. If he finds a harmful medication, there may be a similar medication that is safer to use than the one you are currently using. Save yourself stress and protect your baby from as many birth defects as possible.