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Indicator Report - Birth Defects: Overall

Why Is This Important?

Major birth defects are associated with significant mortality, illness, and disability throughout the lifespan. Pregnancies affected by birth defects are more likely to end as a stillbirth. Affected newborns and children are at an increased risk of premature death, chronic illness, or long term disability. In the United States and other developed countries, birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, and are a major contributor to pediatric hospitalizations, chronic childhood illness, and developmental disabilities. Birth defects are a crucial public health issue nationwide, but particularly in Utah, because of the state's remarkably high birth rate (the highest in the nation).

Tracking and studying birth defects has several benefits: this information helps measure and monitor over time the burden of disease locally and statewide, and provides the evidence basis to help allocate resources for optimal care and evaluate prevention efforts.

All Birth Defects Prevalence, Overall and by Race/Ethnicity, Utah, 1999-2011

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Data Notes

Hispanic persons may be of any race.

Data Sources

Utah Birth Defect Network.

Other Views


Number of cases of eligible major birth defects per 1,000 live births and stillbirths. Major birth defects are broadly those that require medical, surgical, or rehabilitative services, and have an impact on the person's health and development. Major birth defects eligible for inclusion in the Utah Birth Defect Network (UBDN) encompass most (not all) serious structural birth defects, including common as well as uncommon anomalies of the heart (e.g., septal defects, conotruncal defects), face (e.g., cleft lip and palate), skull (e.g., craniosynostosis), limbs (e.g., missing digits), brain or spine (e.g., anencephaly and spina bifida), kidneys and genitourinary system (e.g., absent kidney, hydronephrosis, hypospadias), liver and gastrointestinal system (e.g., biliary atresia, esophageal atresia), as well as chromosomal anomalies such as Down syndrome.

This report excludes certain mild conditions such as those heart findings detected in the preterm baby and that often resolve over time (e.g., patent ductus arteriosus); mild conditions not leading to treatment (e.g., coronal hypospadias not needing surgery); or conditions that usually do not lead to major medical concerns except perhaps in later stages of life (mitral prolapse).

How We Calculated the Rates

Numerator: Number of cases of major birth defects among live births and fetal deaths in women residing in Utah.
Denominator: Number of live births and stillbirths among women residing in Utah.

Page Content Updated On 10/28/2014, Published on 12/01/2014
The information provided above is from the Utah Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sat, 04 July 2015 7:38:06 from Utah Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Mon, 1 Dec 2014 11:40:57 MST