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

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 One farm-economy byproduct is manure, which farmers spread across millions of acres and contains nutrients such as nitrates that researchers have associated with birth defects, thyroid problems, cancer and a potentially fatal condition in infants. Jesse Newman And Patrick Mcgroarty, WSJ, "Farms, More Productive Than Ever, Are Poisoning Drinking Water in Rural America," 18 Jan. 2019 Instead of confirming that risperidone is linked with birth defects, the study authors note that this is simply something that warrants further investigation. Korin Miller, SELF, "What to Know About Getting Pregnant If You Take Antipsychotics," 17 Jan. 2019 Some of the most compelling evidence for the idea of gender identity being hard-wired into the brain comes from medical reports on people who were born in the 1950s and 1960s with birth defects involving their genitals. Denise Grady, The Seattle Times, "Anatomy does not determine gender, experts say," 22 Oct. 2018 Animal studies have shown no conclusive harm to the fetus, but one 2105 review of opioids and pregnancy published in the Journal of Pediatric Genetics concluded that the drugs might be associated with certain birth defects. Hayley Krischer, Marie Claire, "How Heroin Came for Middle-Class Moms," 20 Aug. 2018 The idea that something as innocuous as a mosquito bite could cause severe birth defects, is nothing short of terrifying. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Rift Valley Fever Could Be the Next Global Health Crisis For Pregnant Women," 10 Jan. 2019 Oksana Masters is a double amputee, the result of birth defects likely caused by the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Kirby Adams, The Courier-Journal, "It's a big week for Olympic athletes from Kentucky returning home," 6 July 2018

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

8 May 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

Comments on birth defect

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a sum of money that is sent as a payment

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