March of Dimes global report on birth defects

Every year an estimated 8 million children--6 percent of total births worldwide--are born with a serious birth defect of genetic or partially genetic origin. Additionally, hundreds of thousands more are born with serious birth defects of post-conception origin due to maternal exposure to environmental agents. At least 3.3 million children less than 5 years of age die annually because of serious birth defects and the majority of those who survive may be mentally and physically disabled for life.

This report from the March of Dimes is the first to provide a global estimate of serious birth defects of genetic or partly genetic origin. It details the birth prevalence rates and the numbers of affected births in 193 countries. The report recommends steps that can be taken to prevent birth defects and improve the care of those affected in developing countries. Experience from high-income countries shows that overall mortality and disability from birth defects could be reduced by up to 70 percent if the recommendations in this report are broadly implemented.

Download an electronic copy of The March of Dimes Global Report on Birth Defects: The Hidden Toll of Dying and Disabled Children:

See also: March of Dimes paper on preterm birth