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Birth Defects

Birth defects are generally referred to as abnormalities of structure, function or metabolism (body chemistry) present at birth that result in physical or mental disabilities, or death.

It is important to track birth defects and trends so that research can be done to understand possible causes and methods of prevention.

The majority of states (44 states and Puerto Rico) have a type of birth defects surveillance system. Surveillance data are used to detect birth defects trends, suggest areas for further research, and link people to needed services. States also report data to the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), which publishes an annual report. Prevalence estimates reported by NBDPN for select states and birth defects are now available on Peristats.

For states that have data available, a list of birth defects will appear as subtopics in the search menu to the right once the Birth Defects topic has been chosen.

Last updated: January 2024