Index: Health / Subcategory: Physical Health

Birth Defects

Date Updated: 09/26/2012

A birth defect is defined as any defect present in a baby at birth, irrespective of whether the defect is caused by a genetic factor (chromosomal anomaly or inherited defect) or by prenatal events that are not genetic (congenital anomaly). See Additional Information for further definitions.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment collects data through a statewide public health program for monitoring and preventing birth defects and developmental disabilities. The dataset contains information on over 60 birth defects in Colorado. The data displayed here are expressed as rates per 10,000 live births over a five year period.

What this chart shows: Broad Categories of Birth Defects - Larimer County, 2006-2010 (5-Year Totals)

Data Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Birth Defects Statistics

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The most prevalent birth defects among Larimer County infants included heart defects (539), genital/urinary defects (351), and muscular/skeletal defects (243). Nationally, about 3% of births involve babies with a birth defect. (Centers for Disease Control).

What this chart shows: Specific Birth Defects - Colorado and Larimer County, 2006-2010 (5-Year Totals)

Data Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Birth Defects Statistics

See data table

What the above data tell us:

Down syndrome was the most frequent type of birth defect diagnosed in Larimer County between 2006 and 2010 and the rate per 10,000 live births was higher in the County (15.0) than the State of Colorado (13.6). Of the nine birth defects shown above, Larimer County had a higher rate per 10,000 live births for Down syndrome, cleft lip, cleft palate, and microcephalus. See the data table for the number of infants born with each defect.

What this chart shows: Infants Born with Chromosomal Defects - Larimer County and Colorado, 2006-2010 (5-Year Totals)

Data Source: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: Birth Defects Statistics

See data table

What the above data tell us:

The five-year rates above show that Larimer County rates for chromosomal anomalies are higher than the overall rates for Colorado. One reason may be the percentage of women in Larimer County having children over age 30 is slightly higher than Colorado, a factor that increases the chance of having anomalies. From 2006 to 2010, 29 female infants (34.5 per 10,000) and 25 males (27.9 per 10,000) were born with chromosomal defects in Larimer County.

Additional Information:

Birth defects may involve many different organs including the brain, heart, lungs, liver, bones, and intestinal tract. These defects can occur for varied reasons including inherited (genetic) conditions, toxic exposure of the fetus (i.e., alcohol), birth injury, and in many cases the reasons are unknown. All parents are at risk of having a baby with a birth defect, regardless of age, race, income, or residence.

Return to Text

Birth defects are now the leading cause of infant mortality (death) in the United States. Infants born with birth defects have increased risks of long-term illnesses and disabilities. Although the cause of most birth defects is unknown, it has been shown that folic acid, a B vitamin, helps prevent some birth defects.

Related Information on COMPASS -

Other Resources -

Standards or Target:

Healthy People 2010

  • 16-15: Reduce the occurrence of spina bifida and other neural tube defects (NTDs) to 3 per 10,000 live births.

Healthy People 2020

MICH-28.1: Reduce the occurrence of spina bifida to 30.8 per 100,000 live births.

MICH-28.2: Reduce the occurrence of anencephaly to 22.1 per 100,000 live births.

Data Tables:

Broad Categories of Birth Defects among Larimer County Infants

(Rate per 10,000 Live Births), 2006 to 2010 (5-Year Totals)

Defect Category

Number

Rate

Cardiovascular Anomalies

539 285.1

Genitourinary Anomalies

351 181.7

Musculoskeletal Anomalies

243 123.0

Gastrointestinal Anomalies

93 43.2

Central Nervous System Anomalies

60 34.5

Respiratory Anomalies

53 30.5

Orofacial Anomalies

40 16.5

Eye Anomalies

22 12.7

See chart

Specific Types of Birth Defects and Disabilities, 2006 to 2010 (5-Year Totals)

Birth Defect Type

Colorado

Larimer County

N

Rate

N

Rate

Down Syndrome

472 13.6 26 15.0

Cleft Lip with or without Cleft Palate

383 11.1 23 13.2

Cleft Palate without Cleft Lip

264 7.6 19 10.8

Microcephalus

290 8.4 16 9.2

Total Anencephalus and Spina Bifida

130 3.8 5 2.9

Infantile Cerebral Palsy

122 3.5 5 2.9

Arm/Hand Limb Reduction

70 2.0 2 1.2

Spina Bifida without Anencephalus

100 2.9 3 1.7

Leg/Foot Limb Reduction

35 1.0 <3 N/A

Return to text

See chart

Infants Born with Chromosomal Defects, 2006 to 2010 (5-Year Totals)

Colorado

Larimer County

Births with Defects

Total Live Births

Rate

Births with Defects

Total Live Births

Rate

All

1,030 346,520 29.7 54 17,367 31.1

Female

474 168,719 28.1 29 8,411 34.5

Male

550 177,797 30.9 25 8,956 27.9

See chart