Q.

Birth Defects Prevalence

A.

The National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support state-specific birth defect surveillance programs that collect data on major birth defects (i.e., conditions present at birth that cause adverse structural changes in one or more parts of the body). The NBDPN produces an annual Congenital Malformations Surveillance Report that includes state-level data on major birth defects and a directory of population-based birth defects surveillance systems in the United States.

Data from the report are displayed on PeriStats and include the prevalence rates of birth defects by maternal race/ethnicity. Gastroschisis and chromosomal defects are also stratified by maternal age at delivery. The full report can be found on the NBDPN website. Updated data may be available on state-specific websites. Links to state-specific birth defects program websites can be found under State Resources on PeriStats.

NBDPN reports the prevalence of each birth defect as the (total birth defect cases for any pregnancy outcome for X years/ total live births for those years) * 10,000. The total live birth denominator is used for all reported birth defects except for hypospadias, which is calculated using a denominator of total male live births, and turner syndrome which is calculated using a denominator of total female live births.

State programs have different rules for cell suppression to protect confidentiality. Refer to the footnotes beneath each graph or table for more information on state-specific cell suppression.

State birth defects surveillance programs report race/ethnicity using the categories required by the NBDPN, which are compatible with the federal standards in current use for race/ethnicity. These categories may differ from categories used in other reports published by state health departments and may differ from the way race/ethnicity is reported from other sources of data shown in PeriStats. For more information, refer to the NBDPN Guidelines for Conducting Birth Defects Surveillance.

Differences in state surveillance program methodology exist and may change over time. For example, state surveillance programs vary in the number and type of data sources used to capture cases and the diagnostic coding systems used to classify birth defects. State programs also vary in the inclusion of different pregnancy outcomes in the case definition. For a detailed description of state-specific methods, refer to the State Birth Defects Surveillance Program Directory at the end of the report. Contact the specific state program for more details about their surveillance methodology.

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