FACTS • About 150,000 babies are born each year with birth defects. • The parents of one out of every 28 babies receive the frightening news that their baby has a birth defect • There are over 4,000 known birth defects • Birth defects are the leading cause of death in the first year of life.
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects • Inadequate nutrition of mother • Exposure to diseases or infections during pregnancy • Harmful substances consumed during pregnancy
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects • Inadequate nutrition of mother • Stunted brain development of baby • Leads to mental retardation
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects Exposure to diseases or infections during pregnancy • Rubella, or German Measles, can cause blindness, deafness, heart disease, and mental retardation • Toxoplasmosis, can cause hearing loss, learning disabilities and death; found in cat litter and some raw meats • Chicken pox, scarring of babies’ skin, limb defects, eye problems, and miscarriage • STDs can be passed to unborn child and lead to serious illness, physical disabilities, or death
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects Harmful substances consumed during pregnancy • Nicotine from smoking tobacco or secondhand smoke • Smaller babies • Miscarriages and premature births • Respiratory infections or allergies
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects Harmful substances consumed during pregnancy • Alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) • 20% of infants die • Facial deformities, delayed physical growth, heart defects, and hyperactivity • Mental retardation or disabilities • Poor coordination • Difficulty controlling behavior
Environment Influences of Birth Defects Harmful substances consumed while pregnant • Drugs • Over-the-the counter drugs • Drug addiction • Long-term learning and behavioral problems • Risk of miscarriages • Congenital heart problems
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects Exposure to hazards during pregnancy • Chemicals • X-rays • Toxoplasmosis – extreme high blood pressure
Environmental Influences on Birth Defects Accidental injuries • Cerebral palsy caused by damage to brain before, during, or shortly after birth • Falls lead to a variety of complications
Hereditary Influences on Birth Defects Dominant genes? Recessive genes? Can you explain the difference?
Hereditary Influences on Birth Defects 1. Defective recessive genes inherited from both parents • Cystic fibrosis • Tay-Sachs disease • Sickle cell anemia 2. Defective dominant gene inherited from one parent • Hemophilia • Huntington’s disease • Duchenne muscular dystrophy • Color blindness 3. Errors in chromosomes • Down syndrome
Combined Influence of Heredity and Environment Birth Defects • Drugs + virus = heart defect • Cleft lip/cleft palate • Spina Bifida – reduce risk by taking folic acid
Can birth defects be prevented? • While the potential causes of most birth defects are not known, there are a number of steps a woman can take to reduce her risk of having a baby with a birth defect.
Factors that contribute to Birth Defects: • Overweight • Underweight • Jewish descent • African-American
Brainstorm • Visit a health care provider for a pre-pregnancy check up, especially if a woman has health problems • When pregnant take daily multivitamins containing 400 mg of the B-vitamin folic acid • Avoid alcohol, drugs, smoking, prescription or over-the-counter medication unless approved by a health care provider
More factors that contribute to birth defects • Drinks alcohol • Uses prescription drugs • Has used street drugs • Takes vitamins • Drinks caffeine • Has had exposure to chemicals
More factors that contribute to birth defects • Lives in a home built before 1955 (lead paint) • Constant exposure to cats • Has had x-rays during pregnancy • High blood pressure • Diabetes • Sickle cell anemia
More factors that contribute to birth defects • Health problems • Genital herpes • Gonorrhea • Syphilis • No immunizations against rubella • Miscarriage
Preventing Birth Defects • Avoid…
Review • How do you define birth defect? • What factors contribute to birth defects? • Can some birth defects be diagnosed before birth? • Can birth defects be prevented?