Congenital anomalies are structural or functional anomalies present at birth that can cause physical disability, intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs), and other health problems.1,2 Some may be fatal, especially if not detected and treated early.
There are two main categories of congenital anomalies: structural and functional/developmental. This information focuses on structural congenital anomalies, their causes, their prevention, and their treatment. Functional/developmental congenital anomalies are addressed more completely in the IDDs content.
Some congenital anomalies affect many parts or processes in the body, leading to both structural and functional problems.
Researchers have identified thousands of different congenital anomalies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), congenital anomalies are the leading cause of death for infants in the United States during the first year of life.3