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What Are Birth Defects?

Having a child is the best gift to parents. Sadly, birth defects happen to a baby all over the world. When a professional’s medical negligence causes a birth injury, you may need a birth injury lawyer to help you start a case and receive the compensation you deserve.

Birth injuries usually happen during the birthing process but could result due to negligence on the doctor’s part. Although some birth injuries cannot be prevented due to them happening during pregnancy, some do not. Birth injuries are often a result of trauma during the birthing process.

These injuries can vary from a short-term injury that requires minimal care to a long-term injury that requires long-term or even lifelong care. This can cause a lot of medical expenses to help cover hospital visits and treatments.


Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects

It may be difficult for a parent to distinguish between a birth injury and a congenital disability. If a person is planning on taking their matters legally, it would be important to identify what category the injury or death of the newborn falls under.

With the help of an experienced congenital disability lawyer, you will have no trouble identifying what your case should be categorized as; a birth defect or birth injury.

Cerebral Palsy is a crippling disease that can be obtained during delivery. If the baby is deprived of oxygen during the birthing process, Cerebral Palsy can develop. Cerebral Palsy will affect a person for a lifetime and can either make them partially or entirely handicapped.

Causes of Birth Defects

Although there is no way to pinpoint the exact cause of birth defects, medical professionals advise expecting mothers to pay attention to what they are eating or exposing themselves to during their pregnancy.

Environmental Issues that Lead to Birth Defects:

  • Radiation
  • Products that contain petroleum
  • Lead, Mercury, and other heavy metals
  • Arsenic
  • Paint
  • Formaldehyde
  • Different cleaning solutions
  • Insecticides and DEET
  • Aspartame

Medications that can lead to Birth Defects:

  • Retinoids such as Accutane
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and any other drugs that will treat depression
  • Cold medicines or nasal decongestants
  • Opioids

Along with these medications, alcohol, drugs, and tobacco are proven to lead to congenital disabilities. It is essential to talk to your doctor about all the things that could lead to a birth defect.

Types of Birth Defects

In general, parents or guardians will learn about their birth defect within the first year of their life. However, in some cases, birth defects are not known until several years after they are born. Depending on the type of congenital incapacity, it may not be readily identifiable to parents. They need medical assistance to let them know what measures need to be taken.

The CDC lists these as the most common birth defect:

  • Neural tube defects: Affects the brain, spinal cord, and spine of the infant. This is often a debilitating or life-threatening condition. Typical examples include spina bifida or anencephaly. Anencephaly happens when a newborn is born without parts of the head or brain, and spina bifida affects many different bones surrounding the spinal cord. Neural tube occurs in about 3,000 deaths every year.
  • Cleft lip or cleft palate: This defect occurs from a baby’s mouth not forming correctly during pregnancy. A type of “orofacial cleft” that the CDC approximates occurs in more than 2,500 babies born annually.
  • Congenital heart defects: This affects the structure and workings of an infant’s heart. This is the most common congenital disability being that it occurs in almost 40,000 babies every year. Congenital heart defects are known at birth, and most babies will need surgery to fix the defect. Some types of CHDs include atrioventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, pulmonary atresia, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, transposition of the great arteries, and ventricular septal defect.
  • Down syndrome: Down syndrome is the result of a baby having an extra chromosome. An extra chromosome affects how a baby’s brain and body will develop. Children with Down syndrome can experience both physical and mental difficulties. The CDC estimates that about 6,000 infants (1 in 700) are affected by Down syndrome every year.

Experienced Birth Defect and Birth Injury Lawyers

If you believe that your baby has been injured due to a doctor’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Although money will never undo what happened, it can support you financially during this challenging time. Contact Saffren & Weinberg at 215-576-0100 to learn more about how our experienced team of lawyers can help you!


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