Birth Defects

Birth Defects Data and information

Some Birth
Defects of Interest

Heart defects
Down syndrome
Cleft lip/cleft palate
Spina bifida/ meningocele

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 increases understanding of the causes of birth defects and promotes better treatment and prevention of birth defects for South Carolina's children. The SC Birth Defects Program conducts active surveillance of approximately 50 birth defects from all South Carolina's delivering hospitals. The SC Birth Defects Program follows guidelines found in the South Carolina Birth Defects Act.

Support Information
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.
Children With Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN))
Children and youth (birth to 21yrs.) who have or are at risk for selected physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions that require special health related services.
Care Line
DHEC's Care Line is a statewide, toll-free help line that provides assistance and support to women for their children and families.
The Greenwood Genetic Center
GGC is a statewide system of clinics for genetic evaluations, genetic counseling, and diagnostic testing. GGC has strong research involvement in birth defects and developmental and intellectual disabilities
Family Connection of South Carolina
Links parents and families of children with special healthcare needs and disabilities with resources, support and education.
Help Me Grow
Links families of children at risk for developmental, behavioral, or learning problems to community-based services. Offers developmental screening, care coordination, and follow up with primary care doctors.




Use this interactive tool to choose birth defects indicators and measures to generate maps, bar charts and trend lines.

Track it. Map It.

Understanding how the data are collected, calculated, and interpreted.


Dataset Details

Density Maps

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.



Family Planning Health