CDC: Increasing Rate of Serious Birth Defect Seen in U.S.

CDC: Increasing Rate of Serious Birth Defect Seen in U.S.
CDC: Increasing Rate of Serious Birth Defect Seen in U.S.

(HealthDay News) — The birth defect gastroschisis among U.S. infants has increased over the past 18 years, according to research published in the Jan. 22 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

For the study, CDC researchers collected data from 14 states. They compared the prevalence of gastroschisis among infants born to mothers of different ages from 1995 to 2005 with those born between 2006 and 2012.

Between 1995 and 2012, the incidence of gastroschisis increased among mothers of all ages and racial and ethnic groups. The largest estimated increase over the 18-year period was seen among infants born to black mothers 20 years of age or younger (a 263 percent increase in gastroschisis).

"The concerning part of this is the inexorable rise in gastroschisis going back to the 1970s," Edward McCabe, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer at the March of Dimes, told HealthDay. Suzanne Gilboa, Ph.D., of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, added that more research is needed "to figure out why this increase is happening. Planning and preparing for pregnancy is really important -- things like having a healthy diet and weight, and not smoking or drinking, avoiding drug use and sexually transmitted diseases are all really important."

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