Approximately 1800 infants are born with a birth defect in SC each year (3% or 1 out of every 33 births). The SC Birth Defects Program gathers information on all babies born with birth defects in SC.
The cause of most birth defects is unknown. The developing baby is dependent on his/her mother’s body and her environment. Therefore, eating healthy foods and observing healthy behaviors play an important role in preventing birth defects.
Birth defects occur while the baby is developing in the womb. Some birth defects may be physical (such as a cleft lip or heart defect), while others may cause the body to not function properly (such as a metabolic condition or mental retardation). A child born with one birth defect can also have others. In fact, nearly 12% of all children with a birth defect have more than one defect.
Gathering information about birth defects in SC may better our understanding of the causes, as well as positively influence treatment and prevention of birth defects in South Carolina’s children.
South Carolina's interagency early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental delays, or who have conditions associated with developmental delays.
DHEC's Care Line is a statewide, toll-free help line that provides assistance and support to women for their children and families.
First Sound is South Carolina's Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI). Newborn babies are screened, results are sent to DHEC. Infants who do not pass the initial hearing screening in the hospital are referred for rescreening.
Density maps help us to understand where birth defects are occurring in South Carolina. Density maps may be useful in identifying areas of the state where outreach is needed to reach families impacted by birth defects and areas that have more than the expected number of birth defects.
Density Maps of Birth Defects Rates display the number of birth defects in an area divided by the number of live births in that area; shows the areas that are having more birth defects per 10,000 live births than other areas.
Is there anything I can do to reduce the risk of having a child with birth defects?
Many birth defects happen very early in pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she is pregnant, about half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Not all birth defects are preventable; however a woman can increase her chance of having a healthy baby by adopting positive behaviors for a healthy pregnancy.
Plan your pregnancy
Get prenatal care. See your doctor before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Early and regular prenatal care is important for both the mother and the developing baby.
Take a multi-vitamin containing at least 400 micrograms of folic acid before and during pregnancy andeven if you are not planning on having a baby!Taking folic acid before pregnancy can greatly reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spine.
Take care of yourself
During pregnancy it is important to stay healthy and give your baby a healthy start.