What causes congenital anomalies?

The cause of most birth defects is unknown. However, known causes of some birth defects include:
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Not enough folic acid in mother’s diet
  • Certain prescription medications (Accutane, Thalidomide, Dilantin)
  • Mother with uncontrolled diabetes
  • Mechanical trauma to fetus during pregnancy
  • Presence of genetic abnormalities
Potential causes of birth defects include: [1]
  • occupational chemical exposures
  • foods in the diet
  • environmental pollutants (discussed later)