The Problem of Birth Defects: Infant Mortality

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Almost 1 in 3 babies who dies has serious structural birth defects, the leading cause of infant death in California and the US. Our data show:

bullet-3126011 16% of stillborn babies have birth defects.
bullet-3126011 31% of liveborn children who die by age 1 have birth defects—conditions which may contribute to mortality from other causes, such as low birthweight/preterm birth.
bullet-3126011 Nearly 1 in 10 babies with birth defects will die. A baby with birth defects is 16 times more likely to die than a non-malformed infant.

BIRTH DEFECTS RAISE RISK IN ALL GROUPS

bullet-3126011 Birth defects are a significant cause of infant death in all races. Although infant mortality varies by race/ethnicity, deaths among infants with birth defects are similar in all groups.
bullet-3126011 Birth defects contribute substantially to deaths in babies of all birthweights and gestational ages, including those under 1500 grams.

BIRTH DEFECTS RESEARCH WILL SAVE LIVES

Medical advances in this century have dramatically reduced the infant mortality rate. Now birth defects loom as the number one cause of infant death. Until we focus on preventing birth defects—by finding causes and eliminating them—we cannot defeat infant mortality.