Common Birth Defects And Their Corresponding Treatment

    Common Birth Defects And Their Corresponding Treatment

    A birth defect may occur when there is a structural or functional anomaly in any part of the body when the child is born. The cause can be genetic, environmental, or both. In the Philippines, birth defects or congenital anomalies are among the leading causes of death in babies and children. Let’s talk about the most common birth defects in the country and their corresponding treatment.

    The Most Common Birth Defects in the Philippines

    According to the 2011-2014 report of neonates born in the Philippine General Hospital, below are the most common birth defects diagnosed:

    1. Congenital Hydrocephalus

    The most common congenital anomaly involves the nervous system. This occurs in about 83 newborn per 10,000 live births.

    Now, congenital hydrocephalus is the most common nervous system anomaly. This occurs when there is excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

    The treatment for this condition is usually shunting, where the doctor places a tiny, flexible tube in the brain to drain the fluid to another part of the body, like the belly.

    2. Other Nervous System Anomalies

    Considering nervous system anomalies have the highest occurrence, let’s mention some other birth defects under this category.

    One is anencephaly. It is a neural tube defect where the baby has missing part/s of the brain and skull. There is no treatment for anencephaly and it has a first-year mortality rate of 100%. When the baby is born, they should be kept warm and comfortable.

    Aside from anencephaly and congenital hydrocephalus, the other common nervous system anomalies are:

    • Encephalocele, where there is a sac-like protrusion of the brain and the membrane that covers it through a skull opening. The treatment involves a surgery to place the protruding portion back into the brain and close the skull.
    • Microcephaly, where the baby’s head is smaller than expected. There is no treatment for microcephaly, but therapies may support the child’s growth and development.
    • Spina bifida, where the newborn’s spine and spinal cord do not develop fully. There is also no treatment for microcephaly, but the baby may undergo surgery right after birth to minimize the damage.

    3. Other Congenital Malformations of the Ear

    Congenital malformations of the ear are birth defects that affect the size and shape of the ear.

    One of these birth anomalies is microtia, which literally means “little ear.” Babies with microtia usually have a normal inner ear, but they lack a part or all of the structures making up the outer ear.

    With problems in outer ear development, they may have trouble hearing because no structure funnels the sound.

    The most common treatment for microtia is surgery to correct the defect. Some babies may require a hearing aid, too.

    4. Cardiovascular System Anomalies

    Next on our list of common birth defects in the Philippines is cardiovascular system anomalies. These occur in 38 out of 10,000 live births.

    Also called congenital heart disease, this defect has many types. In the 2011 to 2014 data, the most common are congenital malformations of the cardiac septa, which involve the walls that separate the chambers of the heart.

    The most common septal defect is ventricular septal defect or VSD, where there is malformation of the wall separating the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.

    The treatment for VSD involves surgery to patch up the abnormal hole in the septum.

    5. Digestive System Anomalies

    Last on our list is digestive system birth defects. In the Philippines, the most common is cleft palate with cleft lip. This particular anomaly happens in about 22 newborn per 10,000 live births.

    The most common treatment for cleft palate with cleft lip (as well as other digestive system anomalies) is surgery to correct the defect.

    Key Takeaways

    Based on a report of childbirth in Philippine General Hospital from 2011 to 2014, the most common birth defects are congenital hydrocephalus, other nervous system anomalies, malformations of the ear, cardiovascular system anomalies, and digestive system anomalies, particularly cleft palate with cleft lip.

    Learn more about Pregnancy Problems here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Erika Rellora, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Sep 02, 2022