A birth defect is an abnormality present at birth. Some of them have genetic causes, while others are linked to environmental risk factors. In many cases, the cause of a birth defect is unknown. While it isn’t always possible to prevent birth defects, expecting mothers can take precautions to reduce the risk. At Good Samaritan Hospital, you’ll find compassionate maternity specialists who look forward to helping your baby have the healthiest possible start in life.
Sometimes, the heart of a fetus doesn’t develop properly before birth. For example, aortic valve stenosis occurs when a heart valve can’t function properly. Atrial septal and ventricular septal defects occur when there is a hole in the wall that divides the chambers of the heart.
It’s possible for a baby to be diagnosed with more than one heart defect. Tetralogy of Fallot is diagnosed when all four of the following abnormalities are present:
- There is an obstruction from the heart to the lungs
- The heart muscle in the lower right chamber is thickened
- There is a hole in the wall that divides the lower chambers
- The aorta, a blood vessel, rests over the hole
Many children born with heart defects either don’t require treatment or are successfully treated.
Spina bifida is a neural tube defect. It occurs when the fetal backbone fails to close properly—a problem that can cause damage to the delicate spinal cord.
The mildest form of spina bifida might not be diagnosed until later in the child’s life. The most serious form is immediately apparent at birth, as there is an opening in the baby’s back. A sac of fluid protrudes through this opening.
Prenatal care effectively reduces the risk of spina bifida. Since neural tube defects can develop before women even realize they’re pregnant, doctors often recommend that all women of reproductive age take a folic acid supplement daily.
Babies born with clubfoot have tendons that are too short. This causes the feet to become twisted into an atypical shape or position. Later in life, it can cause problems walking.
Clubfoot is treatable soon after birth with specialized stretching and casting. Some babies require surgical correction.
Birthing Center at Good Samaritan Hospital was designated a family favorite for 2017 in Bay Area Parent magazine! Take a tour of our tranquil maternity hospital in San Jose, and find out for yourself why so many expecting parents choose us for their labor and delivery. You can connect with a friendly member of our nursing staff at (888) 724-2362.