Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
Print    Email
Bookmark and Share

Health Information

Health Information

Health Information

National Birth Defects Prevention Month

A birth defect is an abnormality of structure, function or metabolism (body chemistry) present at birth that results in physical or mental disabilities or death. Although the cause of most birth defects are still unkown, the good news is that are ways to prevent some birth defects.

There are three main categories of genetic birth defects:

  • Single-gene defects: A mutation (change) in a single gene can cause birth defects.
  • Chromosomal birth defects: Abnormalities in the number or structure of chromosomes can cause many birth defects. Chromosomal abnormalities usually are caused by an error that occurred when an egg or sperm cell was developing.
  • Multifactorial birth defects: Some birth defects appear to be caused by a combination of genes and environmental exposures.

January 2010
Health Day and Healthwise


Feature Stories

To prevent birth defects, start with healthy living

For parents with spina bifida, a healthy daughter

Testing for Birth Defects

Related Information & Resources

Most Common Birth Defects

Testing for Birth Defects

National Birth Defect Prevention Network

March of Dimes

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




© 2016 St. Mary's Health System   |  3700 Washington Avenue  |  Evansville, IN 47750  |  (812) 485-4000