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What To Know About Raising A Child With Birth Defects

Every year, over 120,000 babies are born with birth defects. While there could be many causes, many are caused by the exposure of the fetus to certain prescription medications in utero. For pregnant mothers, certain anti-depressants like Celexa, Lexapro, and Zoloft can cause their unborn children to develop defects.

What Is A Birth Defect?

A birth defect is a medical condition arising at or before birth affecting how the body looks or works or both. They can vary greatly in severity depending on the part of the body affected. Some like cleft lip, cleft palate, or club foot are easily diagnosed, but others like heart defects often require special tests to detect.

What Parents Need To Know About Raising A Child With Birth Defects

While some birth defects can be corrected with surgery, others lead to lifelong afflictions. For parents raising children with birth defects, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Birth defects can be diagnosed before, during, or after birth. Some can be detected in utero and doctors may be able to treat or correct them. However, others might go unnoticed for several years until they start causing complications.
  • Your child may need extensive medical care. Life-threatening birth defects like congenital heart defects could require constant monitoring and/or surgeries to prevent further injuries.
  • Some may permanently affect your child’s life. Severe birth defects like shortened or absent limbs, malformation of vital organs, blindness, deafness, and Down’s syndrome, among others, can greatly impact your child’s life. Your child may have many special needs requiring professional medical treatment.
  • The cost of defects can be expensive. Special needs education, specialty medical equipment, surgeries, and physical therapy can all put a huge financial burden on families of children with birth defects.
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