Congenital refers to a characteristic, disease, or condition that occurred at birth or during development in the uterus.
Congenital conditions can be caused by environmental factors or can be inherited. Common congenital conditions include a cleft lip, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, down syndrome, and various heart conditions. Often, testing can be performed during the pregnancy. These tests can conclude if a congenital disorder is present and can diagnose it.
In order to limit congenital disorders and conditions, mothers-to-be are encouraged to eat a healthy and balanced diet, avoid smoking and alcohol, limit exposure to certain chemicals, and take folate supplements throughout their pregnancy.