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View scientific articles about birth defects.

Highlighted Articles

Key Findings: Taking Ondansetron During Pregnancy Does Not Appear to Increase Risk For Birth Defects
A study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that taking ondansetron during early pregnancy did not appear to increase the chance of having a baby with a birth defect.
(Published: August 10, 2018)

Key Findings: A Growing Number of Reproductive-Aged Women are Filling Prescriptions for ADHD Medicine
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that privately-insured U.S. women aged 15-44 who filled a prescription for a medicine to treat ADHD increased nearly 350% between 2003 and 2015.
(Published: January 18, 2018)

Key Findings: Antibiotic Treatments for Urinary Tract Infections Are Commonly Prescribed To Pregnant Women
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 4 in 10 women with UTIs during early pregnancy filled a prescription for nitrofurantoin or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.
(Published: January 11, 2018)

Key Findings: Maternal Fever During Early Pregnancy May Be Linked to Birth Defects
A study from the Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that women who reported having a fever (temperature of at least 101 degrees Fahrenheit) before or during early pregnancy were more likely to have a baby with a neural tube defect compared to women who did not report having a fever.
(Published: January 2, 2018)

Key Findings: Maternal Cold or Flu with Fever During Pregnancy May Be Linked to Birth Defects
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women who had a cold or flu with fever just before or during early pregnancy may be more likely to have a baby born with a birth defect.
(Published: January 2, 2018)

Key Findings: Women and Healthcare Providers “Play it Safe” with Medicine Use During Pregnancy
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with the March of Dimes and RTI International, found that women want to be actively engaged in making decisions about the medicines they take during pregnancy. However, there are not enough informational materials to tell women and their providers what medicines are safe to use during pregnancy.
(Published: October 3, 2017)

Key Findings: Use of Pain Medicine During Early Pregnancy May Be Related To Birth Defects
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that women who took NSAIDs and opioid pain medicines during early pregnancy were more likely to have babies affected with certain birth defects compared with women who took acetaminophen.
(Published: September 26, 2017)

Key Findings: Relationship Between Infant Mortality Related to Birth Defects and Type of Payment for Delivery
(Published: January 26, 2017)

Key Findings: Inpatient Hospital Stays Related to Birth Defects Cost Nearly $23 Billion in 2013
(Published: January 19, 2017)

Key Findings: New CDC Study Provides Basis for Future Research on Medication Use During Pregnancy
(Published: July 15, 2016)

Key Findings: Antibiotic Use among Women with Urinary Tract Infections in the First Trimester of Pregnancy and Birth Defects
(Published: July 15, 2016)

Key Findings: Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Defects Now Common Throughout the United States
In a new report in the journal, Pediatrics, CDC researchers and partners reviewed the overall effects of critical CHD screening, including costs and health outcomes (cost-effectiveness) of performing screenings, challenges at the state level for screening, and implementing screening in special settings.
(Published: April 15, 2016)

Key Findings: Gastroschisis – a Serious Birth Defect – Continues to Increase
New CDC research shows that the occurrence of gastroschisis, a birth defect where a baby’s intestines stick outside of the body through a hole beside the belly button, continues to increase over time. Importantly, the causes for the continued increase in the number of babies born with gastroschisis are unknown, and public health research is urgently needed to uncover more clues.
(Published: January 21, 2016)

Key Findings: Cost savings of spina bifida prevention after folic acid fortification in the United States
Recently, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published a new study looking at the costs associated with a United States requirement that folic acid (a B vitamin) be added to all cereal grain products labeled as enriched (also called folic acid fortification)
(Published: January 11, 2016)

Key Findings: New Down Syndrome Growth Charts
New growth charts for children with Down syndrome in the United States are available
(Published: October 26, 2015)

Key Findings:
Factors associated with Dandy-Walker Malformation (DWM), a rare birth defect of the brain
(Published: May 19, 2015)

Key Findings:
Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Occurrence of Major Birth Defects
(Published February 18, 2015)

Public Perception of Birth Defects Terminology
Although the description “birth defects” is a common phrase, some people with birth defects and their family members have voiced concerns that this phrase promotes a negative view among the general public.
(Published October 22, 2014)

Updated National Birth Prevalence Estimates for Selected Birth Defects in the United States, 2004-2006
This CDC study used data from 14 birth defects tracking programs to look at the birth prevalence of birth defects in the United States from 2004-2006. Birth prevalence is the number of babies born with birth defects (including stillbirths and elective terminations) compared to the total number of live births in the population.
(Published October 22, 2014)

Maternal Asthma Medication Use and the Risk of Selected Birth Defects
Recently, researchers used data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study (NBDPS) to examine maternal asthma medication use during pregnancy and the risk of certain birth defects.
(Published October 22, 2014)

Down Syndrome
Learn about Down syndrome and about Mark, an adult living with the condition. You can also learn what CDC is doing to improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.
(Published: October 3, 2018)

World Birth Defects Day
Every year, about 3-6% of infants worldwide are born with a serious birth defect. This represents millions of babies and families with life-altering conditions like spina bifida and congenital heart defects.
(Published: February 26, 2018)

Prevent Infections for Baby’s Protection
Learn how you can prevent infections before and during pregnancy to help protect you and your developing baby from birth defects.
(Published: January 2, 2018)

Pregnant? Don’t Smoke!
Quitting smoking is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her baby’s health.
(Published: November 13, 2017)

World Down Syndrome Day
Read one mother’s reflection on the birth of her son, Caleb, who has Down syndrome.
(Published: March 20, 2017)

Pregnant? Talk to Your Doctor About Infections
Some infections before and during pregnancy can hurt both you and your baby.
(Published: January 26, 2017)

World Down Syndrome Day: Raising Awareness
In honor of World Down Syndrome Day, read Stacy’s hopeful story about her son Caleb who has Down Syndrome.
{Published March 18, 2016)

Folic Acid and Birth Defects
Every woman needs to get enough folic acid each day, even if she does not plan to become pregnant.
(Published: January 11, 2016)

Living with Down Syndrome
Learn more about Down syndrome and about Keaton, a boy with Down syndrome.
(Published: October 5, 2015)

Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention
July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month—an observance by individuals and organizations to help make people more aware of and give them information about cleft and craniofacial defects and other conditions that can affect the head and face.
(Published: November 21, 2014)

Articles of Interest

*Articles are listed in order of date published.


Ondansetron for Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy and the Risk of Birth Defects.
Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018; 132 (2): 385-394.
Parker SE, Van Bennekom C, Anderka M, & Mitchell AA.
[Read article] [Read Key Findings]

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Medication Prescription Claims Among Privately Insured Women Aged 15–44 Years—United States, 2003–2015.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep.2018 Jan ;67(2): 66-70.
Anderson KN, Ailes EC, Danielson M, Lind JN, Farr SL, Broussard CS, Tinker SC.
[Read article] [Key Findings]

Maternal report of fever from cold or flu during early pregnancy and the risk for noncardiac birth defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997–2011.
Birth Defects Research. 2017 Nov.
Waller DK, Hashmi SS, Hoyt AT, Duong HT, Tinker SC, Gallaway MS, Olney RS, Finnell RH, Hecht JT, Canfield MA.
[Read article]

Risk comparison for prenatal use of analgesics and selected birth defects, National Birth Defects Prevention Study 1997-2011.
Annals of Epidemiology. 2017 Sept.
Interrante, JD, Ailes, EC, Lind, JN, Anderka, M, Feldkamp, ML, Werler, MM, Taylor, LG, Trinidad, J, Gilboa, SM, Broussard, CS, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.
[Read article]

Association between infant mortality attributable to birth defects and payment source for delivery – United States, 2011-2013.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Jan; 66(3):84-87.
Almli LM, Alter CC, Russell RB, Tinker SC, Howards PP, Cragan JD, Petersen E, Carrino GE, Reefhuis J.
[Read article]

Inpatient hospitalization costs associated with birth defects among persons of all ages – United States, 2013.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Jan; 66(2):41-46.
Arth AC, Tinker SC, Simeone RM, Ailes EC, Cragan JD, Grosse, SD.
[Read article]

Baseline Prevalence of Birth Defects Associated with Congenital Zika Virus Infection — Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, 2013–2014.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2017 Jan; 66(8):219–222.
Cragan JD, Mai CT, Petersen EE, Liberman RF, Forestieri NE, Stevens AC, Delaney A, Dawson AL, Ellington SR, Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Dunn JE, Higgins CA, Meyer RE, Williams T, Polen KND, Newsome K, Reynolds M, Isenburg J, Gilboa SM, Meaney-Delman DM, Moore CA, Boyle CA, Honein MA.
[Read article]

Maternal Use of Opioids During Pregnancy and Congenital Malformations: A Systematic Review.
Pediatrics. 2017 May 19:e20164131.
Lind JN, Interrante JD, Ailes EC, Gilboa SM, Khan S, Frey MT, Dawson AL, Honein MA, Dowling NF, Razzaghi H, Creanga AA, Broussard C.
[Read article]

Incidence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome — 28 States, 1999–2013.
CDC. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016 Aug; 65(31):799–802.
[Read article]

Congenital Heart Defects in the United States– Estimating the Magnitude of the Affected Population in the United States.
Circulation. 2016 Jul 12; 134(2):101-9.
Gilboa SM, Devine OJ, Kucik JE, Oster ME, Riehle-Colarusso T, Nembhard WN, Xu P, Correa A, Jenkins K, Marelli AJ.
[Read article]

Retrospective assessment of cost savings from prevention: folic acid fortification and spina bifida in the US.
Am J Prev Med. 2016 May 31;50(5):S74-80.
Grosse SD, Berry RJ, Tilford JM, Kucik JE, Waitzman NJ.
[Read article]

Public Health Practice of Population-Based Birth Defects Surveillance Programs in the United States.
J Public Health Manag Pract. 2016 May-Jun;22(3):E1-8.
Mai CT, Kirby RS, Correa A, Rosenberg D, Petros M, Fagen MC. (2014).
[Read summary]

Survival of children with trisomy 13 and trisomy 18: A multi-state population-based study.
Am J Med Genet A. 2016 Apr; 107(4):825-837.
Meyer RE, Liu G, Gilboa SM, Ethen MK, Aylsworth AS, Powell CM, Flood TJ, Mai CT, Wang Y, Canfield MA; National Birth Defects Prevention Network.
[Read article]

Elevated body mass index and decreased diet quality among women and risk of birth defects in their offspring.
Birth Defects Res A Clin Molec Teratol. 2016 Mar; 106(3):164-71.
Carmichael SL, Yang W, Gilboa S, Ailes E, Correa A, Botto LD, Feldkamp ML, Shaw GM, and the National Birth Defects Prevention Study.
[Read summary]

Data linkage between the National Birth Defects Prevention Study and the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) to assess workplace physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and emotional stressors during pregnancy. National Birth Defects Prevention Study, 1997-2009.
Am J Ind Med. 2016 Feb; 59(2):137-49.
Lee LJ, Symanski E, Lupo PJ, Tinker SC, Razzaghi H, Pompeii LA, Hoyt AT, Canfield MA, Chan W.
[Read summary]

Assessment of YouTube videos as a source of information on medication use in pregnancy.
Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2016 Jan; 25(1):35-44.
Hansen C, Interrante JD, Ailes EC, Frey MT, Broussard CS, Godoshian VJ, Lewis C, Polen KND, Garcia AP, Gilboa SM.
[Read article] [Key Findings]

All Articles

Search a database of articles that have been published by CDC authors within the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities from 1990 to present.