World Birth Defects Day 2024

For some parents, the birth of a baby takes on a different emotion because their child is born with a birth defect. A birth defect is a health condition that happens before birth, and it can cause death or change how a baby lives and functions. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC), birth defects are common. In the United States approximately 120,000 pregnancies end with a child having a birth defect.

Sunday, March 3 has been set aside as World Birth Defects Day #WorldBDDay. The Virginia Department of Health wants to remind readers that the Virginia Congenital Reporting and Education System, also known as VaCARES surveys and reviews birth defects in children under the age of two. Hospitals are required to report cases of birth defects to the surveillance system in hopes that the work will lead to changes. The goals of the birth defects surveillance program are as follows:

  • Collect data to evaluate possible causes of birth defects.
  • Improve the diagnosis and treatment of birth defects.
  • Establish a mechanism for informing families of children with birth defects and their physicians about available health resources.


For more information on birth defects, resources for parents and the surveillance program visit the Virginia Department of Health.