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Birth Defects Indicators

On the Iowa EPHT web portal birth defects are reported as birth prevalence. Birth prevalence measures how often birth defects happen and is the best way to report information about birth defects. It is calculated by counting how many times the birth defect occurs in every 10,000 live births. Data about 12 birth defects are available on the Tracking Network:

Anencephaly

Anencephaly is a birth defect that affects the closing of the neural tube during pregnancy. The neural tube is a narrow channel that folds and closes during the third and fourth weeks of pregnancy to form the brain and spinal cord. Anencephaly occurs when the portion of the neural tube that forms the brain does not close. This results in the baby lacking parts of the brain, skull, and scalp. Read more about anencephaly.

Cleft Lip with or without Cleft Palate

A cleft lip is an opening in the upper lip. The opening in the lip can be a small slit in the lip or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose. A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth, called the palate. A cleft palate can occur when the two sides of the palate do not come together correctly. Read more about cleft lip and cleft palate .

Cleft Palate without Cleft Lip

A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth, called the palate. A cleft palate can occur when the two sides of the palate do not come together correctly. Read more about cleft palate.

Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21)

Down syndrome is a condition in which a baby is born with an extra chromosome. Chromosomes are small "packages" of genes in the body. They determine how a baby's body forms during pregnancy and how, as the baby grows in the womb and after birth, the baby's body functions. Normally, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes. This extra copy changes the body's and brain's normal development and causes developmental and physical problems for the baby. Read more about Down Syndrome .

Gastroschisis

A birth defect in which a portion of an infant's intestines protrude out of the body through a small hole in the body wall beside the umbilical cord. The body wall defect can be small or large and other organs such as the liver can be involved. Read more about Gastroschisis.

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

A heart condition that is present at birth, and often is called a congenital heart defect. It is a group of related defects that, together, mean that the left side of the heart is underdeveloped. Read more about Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome .

Hypospadias

A birth defect among boys in which the opening of the urethra is located somewhere along the underside of the penis instead of at the tip. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This defect occurs when the urethra does not complete its development during the pregnancy. Read more about Hypospadias.

Lower Limb Deficiencies

Lower limb reduction defects occur when a part of or the entire leg (lower limb) of a fetus fails to form completely during pregnancy. The defect is referred to as a "limb reduction" because a limb is reduced from its normal size or is missing. Read more about Lower Limb Reduction Defects .

Spina Bifida (without Anencephaly)

The most common birth defect in the United States. It is a type of neural tube defect. The neural tube is a narrow channel that folds and closes during the third and fourth weeks of pregnancy to form the brain and spinal cord. Spina bifida happens if the portion of the neural tube that forms the spinal cord does not close completely during the first month of pregnancy. Read more about Spina bifida .

Tetralogy of Fallot

A heart condition that is present at birth, and often is called a congenital heart defect. This defect changes the normal flow of blood through the heart. Tetralogy of Fallot is a combination of four defects: (1) a hole in the wall between the ventricles (two lower chambers of the heart), called a ventricular septal defect; (2) narrowing of the tube that carries blood from the heart to the lungs, called pulmonary stenosis; (3) the aorta (the tube that carries oxygen-rich blood to the body) grows from both ventricles, rather than from the left ventricle only; and (4) a thickened muscular wall of the right ventricle, called right ventricular hypertrophy. Read more about Tetralogy of Fallot .

Transposition of the Great Arteries (Vessels)

A heart condition that is present at birth, and often is called a congenital heart defect. Transposition of the great arteries occurs when the two main arteries going out of the heart-the pulmonary artery and the aorta-are switched in position, or "transposed". Read more about Transposition of the Great Arteries.

Upper Limb Deficiencies

Upper limb reduction defects occur when a part of or the entire arm (upper limb) of a fetus fails to form completely during pregnancy. The defect is referred to as a "limb reduction" because a limb is reduced from its normal size or is missing. Read more about Upper Limb Reduction Defects .

Data and information for this site are still being developed and added.  We welcome your comments and feedback.

This effort is supported by funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000619-02. The contents of this Website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.