birth defect


Definition of birth defect

: a physical or biochemical defect that is present at birth and may be inherited or environmentally induced

Examples of birth defect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Women who took valproic acid or topiramate in the early months of their pregnancies had a higher-than-usual chance of having babies with birth defects, including spina bifida and cleft lip, according to a study published Wednesday in Neurology. Susan Scutti, CNN, "Epilepsy drugs linked to higher risk of birth defects, study says," 12 June 2019 In some cases, researchers perform experiments on fetal tissue itself (to study potential causes of birth defects, for example). Amanda Macmillan,, "Fetal Tissue Research Facts and Why It's so Controversial," 6 June 2019 Salon workers also tend to have higher rates of miscarriages, gestational diabetes, and babies with birth defects. Longreads, "True Roots," 5 June 2019 Fetal tissue is used in research on HIV and childhood cancers, treatments that enlist the body's immune system to battle cancer, and the hunt for a vaccine against the Zika virus, a cause of birth defects. CBS News, "Trump administration ends federal fetal tissue research," 5 June 2019 Worldwide, roughly 5 percent of children are born with serious birth defects caused by a single gene. Eric Betz, Discover Magazine, "George Church Wants to Make Genetic Matchmaking a Reality," 15 Apr. 2019 The film follows concerned citizens, parents and activists trying to get the answers about the waste, and the high incidence of cancers, birth defects and other diseases reported in the surrounding area. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "TV tonight: HBO doc 'Atomic Homefront' examines nuclear waste," 12 Feb. 2018 But infection during pregnancy can cause devastating birth defects, including microcephaly, in which a baby’s skull is much smaller than expected because the brain hasn’t developed properly. Washington Post, "Risk of Zika infection through sex may last only a month," 11 Apr. 2018 Often found in older couches, mattresses and carpet padding, flame retardant chemicals have been linked to infertility, birth defects, cancer, and immune system problems. Lindsey Campbell, House Beautiful, "19 Dangerous Household Items You Should Quit Using Immediately," 15 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'birth defect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of birth defect

1864, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for birth defect

Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for birth defect

The first known use of birth defect was in 1864

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More Definitions for birth defect

birth defect


Kids Definition of birth defect

: a physical defect that a person is born with and that may be inherited or caused by something in the environment

birth defect


Medical Definition of birth defect

: a physical or biochemical defect (as cleft palate, phenylketonuria, or Down syndrome) that is present at birth and may be inherited or environmentally induced

More from Merriam-Webster on birth defect

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with birth defect

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