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.
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.
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
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
Use this interactive tool to choose birth defects indicators and measures to generate maps, bar charts and trend
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?
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
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 and
even 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
pregnancy it is important to stay healthy and give your baby a healthy start.