Information for Patients
A birth defect is a problem that happens while a baby is developing in the mother's body. Most birth defects happen during the first 3 months of pregnancy. One out of every 33 babies in the United States is born with a birth defect.
A birth defect may affect how the body looks, works or both. Some birth defects like cleft lip or neural tube defects are structural problems that can be easy to see. To find others, like heart defects, doctors use special tests. Birth defects can range from mild to severe. Causes can include
- Exposures to medicines or chemicals. For example, alcohol abuse can cause fetal alcohol syndrome.
- Infections during pregnancy
- Certain medicines. Before you get pregnant, talk to your health care provider about any medicines you take.
- Not getting enough of certain nutrients. For example, not getting enough folic acid before and during pregnancy is a key factor in causing neural tube defects.
For most birth defects, the cause is unknown.
Health care providers can diagnose certain birth defects during pregnancy, with prenatal tests. That's why it important to get regular prenatal care. Other birth defects may not be found until after the baby is born. Sometimes the defect is obvious right away. Other times, the health care provider may not discover it until later in life.
Babies with birth defects often need special care and treatments. The treatments may include surgery, medicines, assistive devices, and therapies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Your stomach is an organ between your esophagus and small intestine. It is where digestion of protein begins. The stomach has three tasks. It stores swallowed food. It mixes the food with stomach acids. Then it sends the mixture on to the small intestine.
Most people have a problem with their stomach at one time or another. Indigestion and heartburn are common problems. You can relieve some stomach problems with over-the-counter medicines and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding fatty foods or eating more slowly. Other problems like peptic ulcers or GERD require medical attention.
You should see a doctor if you have any of the following:
- Blood when you have a bowel movement
- Severe abdominal pain
- Heartburn not relieved by antacids
- Unintended weight loss
- Ongoing vomiting or diarrhea
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Uncommon Infant and Newborn Problems
It can be scary when your baby is sick, especially when it is not an everyday problem like a cold or a fever. You may not know whether the problem is serious or how to treat it. If you have concerns about your baby's health, call your health care provider right away.
Learning information about your baby's condition can help ease your worry. Do not be afraid to ask questions about your baby's care. By working together with your health care provider, you make sure that your baby gets the best care possible.