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NM EPHT Health Effects: Birth Defects

Birth is a complex and wonderful process and fortunately, the birth outcome for most women is a full-term and healthy baby. The fetus is developing along with critical organ systems during pregnancy. There are critical windows during the development when environmental exposures could damage the fetal growth and function. We know some risk factors, while others need more research. For example, we know that smoking during pregnancy slows a baby's growth while it is in the womb. In New Mexico we are tracking both birth/reproductive outcomes and birth defects.

We track the following twelve birth defects.


Spina bifida (without anencephaly)

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome

Tetralogy of Fallot

Transposition of the great arteries (vessels)

Cleft lip with or without cleft palate

Cleft palate without cleft lip



Upper limb deficiencies

Lower limb deficiencies

Down syndrome (Trisomy 21)

The NM EPHT Interactive Data Query tools allow you to query Birth Defects data and see results in tables, maps, and charts.

Read more about birth defects on the next page, About Birth Defects.

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You can learn basic facts about birth, pregnancy, and reproductive outcomes and birth defects from these (external) Web sites:

These resources can also be helpful to find out what you can do to protect yourself from environmental exposures during pregnancy.