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Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities

Below are links to information related to birth defects and developmental disabilities. Click on the tabs or scroll down to view general information and programs, research, statistics and guidelines on this topic.

Research, Recommendations and Guidelines


Public Health Grand Rounds: Understanding the Causes of Major Birth Defects: Steps to Prevention (video)
This session of Grand Rounds discussed some of the research underway to identify the risk factors for birth defects, and develop the key intervention strategies that can be used to help ensure that every child is born in the best possible health.

Folic Acid & Birth Defects
Get healthy before and during pregnancy to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. You can plan ahead by getting enough folic acid each day.


Key Findings: Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Occurrence of Major Birth Defects
The American Journal of Public Health published a new study that examined the occurrence of major birth defects across multiple racial and ethnic groups. Using 12 state-based birth defects tracking systems, this is to date the largest study conducted to look at racial and ethnic differences in the United States for a range of birth defects.

Birth Defects are Common
Every 4 ½ minutes, a baby is born with a birth defect in the United States? Help increase awareness in your community.

Key Findings: Prenatal Diagnosis of Congenital Heart Defects 
Researchers from CDC and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) found that 15% of women reported that they first learned about their baby's congenital heart defect (CHD) during pregnancy (called a prenatal diagnosis). Many times it is critical that a baby receives their CHD diagnosis during the mother's pregnancy to reduce serious complications after the baby is born.


Women with Disabilities and Breast Cancer Screening
Studies show that women with disabilities are less likely than women without disabilities to have received a mammogram in the past two years. They are also less likely to receive routine clinical preventive services. CDC, along with its partners, is working to improve mammography use among women with disabilities.

Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities General Information and Programs