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
- Intersex (Medical Encyclopedia)
Sheldon-Hall syndrome Sheldon-Hall syndrome, also known as distal arthrogryposis type 2B, is a disorder characterized by joint deformities (contractures) that restrict movement in the hands and feet. The term "arthrogryposis" comes from the Greek words for joint (arthro-) and crooked or hooked (gryposis). "Distal" refers to areas of the body away from the center. The characteristic features of this condition include permanently bent fingers and toes (camptodactyly), overlapping fingers, and a hand deformity called ulnar deviation in which all of the fingers are angled outward toward the fifth (pinky) finger. Inward- and upward-turning feet (a condition called clubfoot) is also commonly seen in Sheldon-Hall syndrome. The specific hand and foot abnormalities vary among affected individuals; the abnormalities are present at birth and generally do not get worse over time.People with Sheldon-Hall syndrome also usually have distinctive facial features, which include a triangular face; outside corners of the eyes that point downward (down-slanting palpebral fissures); deep folds in the skin between the nose and lips (nasolabial folds); and a small mouth with a high, arched roof of the mouth (palate). Other features that may occur in Sheldon-Hall syndrome include extra folds of skin on the neck (webbed neck) and short stature.Sheldon-Hall syndrome does not usually affect other parts of the body, and intelligence and life expectancy are normal in this disorder.