Did you know that every four and a half minutes, a baby is born with birth defects? According to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network, 1 in every 33 babies is born with one or more of these conditions, and often there is no family history associated. These birth defects can come in a variety of forms, including spina bifida, heart defects, Down syndrome, cleft lips and palates, and ear abnormalities, among many more.
“Birth defects can cause a significant amount of stress during a time that is otherwise filled with celebration,” says Dr. John Noonan of The Plastic Surgery Group. “Knowing your medical options and the providers out there who can help will ease your worries and allow you to enjoy the celebration of your infant’s birth with your family and friends.”
The plastic surgeons at The Plastic Surgery Group in Albany wanted to let you know more about a few prevalent birth defects we help our patients with throughout the year: cleft lips, cleft palates and ear deformities.
Cleft lips occur when the left and right sides of the mouth don’t grow together as they typically do during the early weeks of infant development. Similarly, cleft palates are caused when the left and right sides of the mouth do not join together during early development. These issues can cause the appearance of the child’s face to be altered, as well as affect speech and feeding patterns. Severe cleft lip and palate issues may also lead to ear infections for some children.
Ear deformities affect more than 20 percent of all children born each year. Various abnormalities can result in conchal crus, cupping, helical compression, lidding, lop ear, prominent, stahl’s or tanzer 1 constricted ear deformities, and have the potential to affect the development of children both physically and emotionally. The recent addition of the EarWell™ Infant Ear Correction System to The Plastic Surgery Group’s procedures allows our doctors to non-invasively correct ear abnormalities of infants with no surgery involved.
You can take steps to prevent your unborn child from being born with birth defects. Use of cigarettes, alcohol and/or other drugs, as well as the use of many medicines, has been linked to birth defects and is strongly discouraged. As well, women are encouraged to take folic acid as soon as they intend to become pregnant, as folic acid helps first trimester brain and spine development. Regular medical checkups, infectious disease tests and vaccinations should be used to protect the health of both mother and child.
Find out more about preventing birth defects from resources provided by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. For more information about correcting your unborn infant or young child’s birth defects, contact one of our doctors today at 518.438.0505 or contact us via our website.