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 Studies suggest that drinking water with elevated levels of nitrate over a sustained period can cause birth defects, thyroid problems and colon cancer. Laura Schulte, Journal Sentinel, 3 Apr. 2024 But these plastics also contain chemicals that can cause problems for both our bodies and the planet—exposure to these toxins has been linked to health problems including cancers, birth defects and endocrine system disruption. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Mar. 2024 Take supplements: Folic acid helps protect against birth defects. Wendy Wisner, Health, 27 Mar. 2024 In 1962, Congress further expanded the FDA’s authority after the drug thalidomide was shown to cause severe birth defects — this time, to require that drugs be proven effective. Meg Tirrell, CNN, 26 Mar. 2024 Topiramate brings other risks, including birth defects, tingling sensations, and changes in mood. Daniel Engber, The Atlantic, 26 Mar. 2024 Studies on rats, rabbits and monkeys showed that these medications, if taken while pregnant, can lead to miscarriage and birth defects. Katie Camero, USA TODAY, 21 Mar. 2024 Having the flu during pregnancy increases the odds of preterm birth and birth defects, and some studies have also linked bacterial and viral infections during pregnancy to a risk of autism and depression in children. Aria Bendix, NBC News, 25 Jan. 2024 But, concerns about serious possible side effects—including mental health problems and severe birth defects—keep some parents from considering it as an option for their teenagers. Leah Ansell, Verywell Health, 24 Dec. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'birth defect.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of birth defect was circa 1864

Dictionary Entries Near birth defect

Cite this Entry

“Birth defect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

birth defect

: a serious defect (as in physical or mental function) that is present at birth and is inherited or caused by something that happens or exists in the environment

Medical Definition

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
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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