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Health Indicator Report of Birth Defects: Overall

Major birth defects are associated with significant mortality, illness, and disability throughout the lifespan. Utah Birth Defect Network Website[[br]] [] Environmental Public Health Tracking Specific Utah Birth Defect Data[[br]] []

Birth Defects Prevalence by Birth Defect, Utah, 2009-2013


Hypospadias prevalence per 10,000 male live births.

Data Source

Utah Birth Defect Network

Data Interpretation Issues

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).


Utah birth defect prevalence per 10,000 live births.


Number of live births in Utah with a major birth defect.


Number of live births and stillbirths among women residing in Utah.

How Are We Doing?

From 1999 through 2013, the Utah Birth Defect Network (UBDN) has identified nearly 18,000 newborn babies with birth defects. Approximately 1,200 babies are currently born each year in the state with a birth defect, for a rate of 23.4 per 1,000 births or approximately 2.3 of every 100 births. This figure does not include some common, milder conditions. With a broader inclusion of structural conditions, it is estimated that the rate of birth defects is 3%, or 1 in 33 births. By including developmental disabilities, which become apparent often only in the older or school-age child, the rate has been estimated to exceed 10% or more of births. Review of UBDN data shows that major birth defects in Utah are associated with 1.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live born infants, or approximately 30% of the total infant deaths in the state (5 per 1,000). Birth defects also disproportionately contribute to prematurity. Additional information available at: Environmental Public Health Tracking Specific Utah Birth Defect Data[[br]] [] Birth Defect Infant Mortality[[br]] []

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Overall comparisons of birth defect rates with the U.S. must be interpreted with caution because each state may collect the data differently. Data from other states is available at the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN) website ([]). The overall rate of birth defects in Utah is generally in line with what is expected based on national and international level. A common overall estimate of the birth defect rate is 3%, or 1 in 33 births. The slightly lower figure observed in Utah (2.3%, or 1 in 45 births) can be explained by the exclusion of certain common and mild defects from ascertainment by the UBDN. Overall, rates for specific birth defects are similar to that observed in programs with similar operating methods with two major differences: *One difference is the rate of Down syndrome that is somewhat higher in Utah than in other parts of the U.S., and that is consistent with the reproductive patterns in Utah whereby a comparatively higher proportion of pregnancies occur in the later childbearing years than in other states. *A second difference is the high rate of cleft lip and palate, which currently exceeds 1 in approximately 500 births, and is higher than in other parts of the U.S., for reasons that are not yet clear.[[br]]

What Is Being Done?

Utah Birth Defect Network (UBDN) is been committed to providing quality information for tracking, assessing, and preventing birth defects. UBDN, in partnership with local and national organizations, is #Tracking all major birth defects to assess trends, address community concerns, examine clustering, and quantify morbidity and mortality; #Promoting and evaluating primary prevention of severe birth defects, including education campaigns among women and health care providers to promote the use of the B-vitamin folic acid to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects; #Searching for the causes of birth defects in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).[[br]] [[br]] UBDN is also active nationally within the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), a non-profit organization involving birth defect programs and individuals working at the local, state, and national level to raise awareness for birth defects. The NBDPN is committed to the progression of surveillance and research, to identify factors for prevention and assist families to minimize secondary disabilities prevention. (For more information, see []).

Available Services

Children with Special Health Care Needs[[br]] Phone (801) 584-8284[[br]] Toll Free (800) 829-8200[[br]] [] Division of Medical Genetics[[br]] Department of Pediatrics[[br]] University of Utah Health Sciences Center[[br]] Phone (801) 581-8943 Baby Watch Early Intervention Services[[br]] Phone (801) 273-2998[[br]] Toll Free (800) 961-4226[[br]] [][[br]] ''Early Intervention services are available for children birth to three years of age with developmental delay or disability. Services include child health assessment, service coordination among providers, occupational and physical therapy, and speech and language therapy.''
Page Content Updated On 12/07/2016, Published on 12/15/2016
The information provided above is from the 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 Tue, 17 October 2017 14:47:30 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Fri, 26 May 2017 10:19:42 MDT