Babies come into the world heralding the good news that the human species with all its diversities and complexities is still going good and hasn't come to a grinding halt. Though a newborn brings in its wake untold
happiness to those around, there are some unfortunate babies whose birth is
clouded with sadness and worry for the parents because of the birth defects in
them that are manifest either immediately after birth or after a while,
depending on the nature of the congenital abnormality.
Understanding Birth Defects
Birth defects include abnormalities in the new born baby's
structure, function or body metabolism which usually lead to physical and
mental disabilities and can even be fatal sometimes. There are many causes for
birth defects involving a wide range of factors -some due to hereditary
abnormality, some caused by chromosomal disorders or genetic disorders and some
others caused by environmental agents. There are commonly known birth defects
lip, cleft palate, Down syndrome, autism, muscular dystrophy, neural tube
defects, congenital heart disorders
to rare birth defects such as cleft foot and hand, club foot, aglossia
(baby born without a tongue) and albinism (absence of melanin),
With the advent of prenatal screening and prenatal care
can detect certain signs of birth defects and some birth defects
can even be treated while the baby is still in the mother's womb. Some can be
treated immediately after the baby is born and there are still some birth
defects for which there is no known treatment till date.
Birth Defects Statistics
• 2-3 per 100 children are born with birth defects around the world
• 2.5/1000 babies are born with Neural Tube Defects
• 2.7/1000 babies are born with Club foot, Gastrointestinal tract abnormalities
and defective diaphragm
• 1.9/1000 babies are born with Cleft lip, Cleft palate and Congenital Heart Defects
• Birth defects incidence in India has not reduced over the last 8 years
Why a Birth Defects Registry?
A birth defects registry is a data collection and research project aimed at understanding and exploring the prevalence of birth defects in a population.
Birth registries can be population based or hospital based, depending mostly on
the movement of pregnant women for delivery, registration of significant events
in the area covered by the program and also the resources available to the
registry. A systemic birth defects surveillance program can help plan
preventive strategies, create support systems for individuals affected by birth
defects and their parents and carers. When developmental problems are detected
early, it paves the way for right diagnosis, early health intervention
for the baby, medical advice to help
families cope with the baby's abnormality and also to plan subsequent
Mission Possible- Birth Defects Registry of
child of Prof Dr. S. Suresh and Dr. Indrani Suresh, Birth Defects Registry of India (BDRI)
was instituted in 2001 by
Fetal Care Research Foundation, a not-for-profit charity trust based in
Chennai, to document incidences of congenital abnormalities in the Indian
population. From a modest beginning, BDRI has now enrolled nearly 700
hospitals across 26 states and 3 Union territories and has so far analyzed over
0.7 million births of which the most common anomaly has been Neural Tube Defects (NTD).
ascertaining a baseline prevalence of birth defects throughout India, BDRI is
working to reduce the incidence of birth defects and enable families and carers
to form Support Groups for various congenital disorders.
of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India (FOGSI)
has joined hands
with BDRI since 2008 and both work in unison, adopting the same model. FOGSIBDR
seeks to explore the frequency and pattern in which various birth defects occur
across India. Regional registries collect monthwise data on birth and birth
defects from member hospitals and send them to the Central Registry for
verification and analysis.
The BDRI Advantage
Prof Dr. S.
Suresh, Director, BDRI is a pioneer in the field of diagnostic ultrasound and
was awarded the Fellowship honoris causa and conferred the FRCOG by the Royal
College of Obstetrics and Gynecology on November 26, this year. BDRI convenes
quarterly meetings in Chennai which provide a platform for obstetricians,
gynecologists and pediatricians to interact and share information on birth
defects. An official newsletter of the BDRI updates
information for members on the proceedings of the periodic meetings convened to
discuss the latest happenings in the study of birth defects in India. Annual
statistics of birth defects improve awareness and knowledge on birth defects
thereby enabling medical professionals to give accurate information to
for online BDRI registration. Any government or private hospital with
obstetric practice willing to join hands for a national cause can become a
member of BDRI.
Team and individual memberships are invited and membership is free. If
you haven't already registered with BDRI add your hospital to the BDRI list to
help establish causes of birth defects, connect with researchers studying birth
defects such as reports on toxins that are known to affect pregnancies, help in
forming of Support Groups that can strengthen families struggling to raise
children with birth defects and promote awareness on the preventive, supportive and
curative aspects of birth defects in India.