New Jersey Environmental Public Health Tracking Program

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Birth Defects

The NJDOH maintains a confidential registry of children with birth defects and special health care needs, and children who are at-risk of developing such needs.  State law mandates reporting to the Special Child Health Services (SCHS) Registry any infant or child with a birth defect diagnosed from birth to five years of age.  The SCHS Registry (sometimes referred to as the New Jersey Birth Defects Registry) annually receives approximately 10,000 registrations. The New Jersey SCHS Registry serves as a primary link to case management services. More on birth defects and human health

What Information Does the EPHT Network Contain About Birth Defects in New Jersey?

The NJ EPHT program maintains summary information on selected birth defects affecting New Jersey children.  The data were originally gathered by the NJDOH Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services Program, and include counts of children with selected birth defects for the State of New Jersey. 


Anencephaly is a developmental disorder that occurs when the neural tube fails to close, usually between the 23rd and 26th day of pregnancy, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp.

Spina Bifida:

Spina bifida is a neural tube defect caused by the failure of a fetus's spine to close properly during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Hypoplastic left heart syndrome:

In hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the left side of the heart (including the aorta, aortic valve, left ventricle and mitral valve) is underdeveloped.

Tetralogy of Fallot:

Tetralogy of Fallot involves four heart malformations which present together: pulmonary stenosis, overriding aorta, ventricular septal defect and right ventricular hypertrophy.

Transposition of the great arteries:

Transposition of the great arteries is a heart defect present at birth, in which the two main arteries leaving the heart are reversed. The condition changes the way blood circulates through the body, leaving a shortage of oxygenated blood flowing from the heart to the rest of the body.

Cleft lip with and without cleft palate:

Cleft lip and cleft palate are variations of a birth defect caused by abnormal facial development during fetal development. 

Cleft Palate:

Cleft palate is a condition in which the two plates of the skull that form the hard palate (roof of the mouth) are not completely joined.


Hypospadias is a condition in which the opening of the urethra (where urine comes out) is located on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip.


Gastroschisis, a type of hernia, is an opening in the abdominal wall through which the internal organs protrude outside of a baby's body.

Upper limb deficiencies:

A congenital upper limb deficiency is defined as the loss of a limb or part of a limb of the upper trunk or torso at the time of birth.

Lower limb deficiencies:

A congenital lower limb deficiency is defined as the loss of a limb or part of a limb of the lower trunk or torso at the time of birth.

Down syndrome or trisomy 21:

Down syndrome or trisomy 21 is a genetic disorder that causes mental retardation and other problems.

Where Can I Get More Information About Birth Defects in New Jersey?

If you would like additional information about birth defects and related intervention services, please contact the NJ State Department of Health, Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, PO Box 364, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0364, or call (609)777-7778.

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