Saving Babies Through Surveillance, Research, and Prevention of Birth Defects and Infant Disorders

A happy healthy baby

Saving Babies

CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) is working towards a day when all babies are born with the best health possible.

Birth defects and infant disorders are common, costly, and critical conditions that can cause lifelong health challenges. They can be the first sign that infectious diseases, environmental hazards, or substances cause serious harm to pregnant women, infants, and children. Our unique surveillance, public health research, and world-renowned expertise provide a wealth of information used to

  • Identify causes of birth defects and infant disorders;
  • Find opportunities to prevent them; and
  • Improve the health of those living with these conditions.

Together, with state, territorial, and local health departments, academic centers, healthcare providers, and other partners, we are working towards a day when all babies are born with the best health possible and every child thrives.


A pregnant woman holding her stomach lovingly

Looking to the Future

NCBDDD’s innovative mother-baby linked surveillance and long history of birth defects and infant disorders surveillance and research gives our nation the best chance to protect pregnant women and infants, especially when we’re combatting emerging threats. Investments in modernizing and advancing our work allow CDC to continue strengthening a public health network that can rapidly assess the needs of pregnant women and their infants. We will continue addressing the impact of exposures during pregnancy, such as medicines, substance use, and infectious diseases. Additionally, we will continue identifying opportunities to prevent specific conditions, including congenital heart defects, neural tube defects, gastroschisis, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and to reduce their impact on health outcomes across the lifespan.

Notable Scientific Publications