In most cases, the cause of a
congenital heart defect is not known. But certain
things increase your baby's chances of developing a heart defect.
Family history: A child's risk for
having a congenital heart defect increases if a brother, sister, or parent has
Other genetic conditions: For example,
Down syndrome has been linked to congenital heart
Premature birth: Babies born too
early have a higher chance of having a congenital heart
Chronic conditions: Babies born to women with
phenylketonuria have a higher chance of having a
congenital heart defect.
Women who plan to become pregnant and women who are
pregnant can lower their risk of having a baby with a congenital heart defect
by taking steps to have a
healthy pregnancy. For healthy pregnancy choices, see the topic Pregnancy.
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