Talking with Patients about Birth Defects

Key points

  • Healthcare providers play an important role in the care and support of a child with a birth defect and their family.
  • CDC and partners provide information and resources about birth defects for healthcare providers, including free educational materials to share with patients.
Clipboard with a stethoscope laying on top

Counseling and support

Supporting the family of a child with a birth defect is an important part of the healthcare provider's job. Providers should recommend sources of help for the child and the family.

In addition to any current medical information, help can include information about:

Providers should consider referring some parents to a genetic counselor to help them learn more about their child's condition. After a prenatal diagnosis, genetic counseling during pregnancy can help a family plan for the healthcare needs their newborn might have. Genetic counselors can explain the diagnosis, the possible role of genes, and medical aspects of certain birth defects. A genetic counselor can also talk with parents about their risk of having future children with a birth defect.

Group of healthcare providers of different ages and races standing together
A team of supportive healthcare providers can make a huge difference.