Congenital abnormalities can be caused by a plethora of factors. Congenital abnormalities are often also referred to as birth defects. The CDC reports that birth defects affect about 3% of all babies born in the United States. We are going to share with you a few of the major causes of congenital abnormalities, to help you better understand why these occur. 

What Are Congenital Abnormalities? 

Congenital Abnormalities can be structural or functional abnormalities. A Congenital abnormality can be a health problem or a physical abnormality that develops prenatally and can be identified before, at, or after birth. A few examples of congenital abnormalities include heart defects, cleft lip, down syndrome, and spina bifida.  

Major Causes of Congenital Abnormalities 


  • There are a few different genetic factors that can cause congenital abnormalities. These include single-gene defects, dominant inheritance, and recessive inheritance. There can also be multifactorial defects that are caused by both genetic and environmental factors.  

Chromosome Abnormalities

  • Chromosomes determine how the baby grows, what the baby looks like, and even play a role in how the baby functions. When there is a piece of the chromosome missing or duplicated, congenital abnormalities can form. Chromosome abnormalities can influence the health and traits of the baby. 

Certain Illnesses and Conditions

  • Throughout pregnancy, there are certain illnesses, infections, and conditions that can have an effect on the baby and lead to congenital abnormalities. Illnesses and conditions like chicken pox, Zika virus, rubella, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases can influence the health and development of the baby.  

Environmental Factors

  • A few environmental factors that can impact the development and health of the baby during pregnancy are smoking, alcohol, and drugs. Eating raw foods or taking certain medications can also have an effect on the baby and the mother during pregnancy.  

Unknown Cause

  • Although there have been many causes and factors of congenital abnormalities identified over the years, the large majority of congenital abnormalities still have unknown causes.  

Learning more about congenital abnormalities can help us know what causes them and can help us understand them better. There is a lot of information to know and learn about congenital abnormalities and we understand that many questions may come up. Our team at Life Tech is here to help, contact us today with any questions!