Congenital Heart Defects
What Increases Your Risk
In most cases, the cause of a congenital heart defect isn't known. But certain things increase your baby's chances of having a heart defect. These include:
- Reference Family history Opens New Window. A child's risk for having a congenital heart defect increases if a brother, sister, or parent has one.
- Other genetic conditions. For example, Reference Down syndrome Opens New Window has been linked to these defects.
- Premature birth. Babies born too early have a higher chance of having a heart defect.
- Chronic conditions. Babies born to women with Reference diabetes Opens New Window or Reference phenylketonuria Opens New Window have a higher chance of having a heart defect.
- Use of alcohol or drugs. Women who drink alcohol, take certain prescription or over-the-counter medicines, or use illegal street drugs during pregnancy may cause the baby to have a heart defect.
If you're concerned about having a baby with a congenital heart defect, you can take steps to lower your risk. For healthy pregnancy choices, see the topic Reference Pregnancy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 11, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Larry A. Latson, MD - Pediatric Cardiology