baby with birth defect

Birth defects are malformation, disruptions, deformations, and disorders that are present in a child’s body at birth. Worldwide, thousands of people are born with birth defects each year.

Birth defects are generally one of several kinds: structural, metabolic, and functional or developmental birth defects. Structural birth defects occur when a body part either does not form properly or does not form at all. Metabolic birth defects are those that affect rather body processes or chemical pathways (such as glandular dysfunctions). Functional birth defects are those associated with how a body part or body system works (joints and bones). Birth defects are the leading cause of death for newborn children, which is why it is important for you to know what the major types of birth defects are and what causes them. Some of these birth defects may be prevented if the mother and her doctor take proper precautions.

Here are the types of birth defects, listed by what causes the child to develop them:

  • Infectious agents:
  • There are birth defects that are caused by viral agents or conditions that the mother has during pregnancy such as HIV, Chickenpox, German measles. German measles is known to cause cataracts of the eyes, defects in the child’s heart, and deafness. Chickenpox may lead to atrophy of certain muscles, hypoplasia (the partial complete underdevelopment of an organ), and mental retardation. HIV may hinder bodily growth and cause microcephaly (abnormal smallness of the head and brain).

  • Physical agents:
  • Physical agents include any external physical object that affects the development of the fetus inside the mother’s womb. These include X-ray radiation and hyperthermia that cause limb defects, cleft palate, and spinabifida. In some cases, even certain medical treatments or procedures may cause birth defects.

  • Drug and chemical agents:
  • Drugs and chemical agents may also cause birth defects when taken by the mother during the delicate period of her pregnancy. The FDA classifies drugs according to the degree of harm or threat that they may cause to the fetus, from A (which is safe for pregnancy) to x (known to cause birth defects). Also, there are other chemical substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, and even certain vitamins, which may cause birth abnormalities.

  • Genetic Problems:
  • When one or more genes do not work properly, or is missing, birth defects may develop in an infant. Genes that have been improperly copied or divided are passed on when only one parent transfers a gene for a particular physical characteristic.

Please Speak With Your Doctor Before Discontinuing Use of Any Prescription.

Have You or a Loved One Given Birth to a Child with Birth Defects?

Birth Injury Lawyer meeting with couple with child born with a birth defectIf you or a loved one have given birth to a child with birth defects, you may want to speak with one of our lawyers in RI regarding a potential claim. d’Oliveira & Associates, Rhode Island personal injury lawyers, are working with some of the leading lawyers in the country who are handling these cases.

Please contact a RI attorney at the law offices of d’Oliveira & Associates at 1-800-992-6878 or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.

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Paul d’Oliveira

Attorney Paul d’Oliveira has been practicing personal injury and disability law for over 30 years. He started his personal injury law practice in 1989 with two offices in Fall River, MA and East Providence, RI. Today his firm has 15 offices in RI and Southeastern, MA.

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