What is a development anomaly?

A developmental anomaly is a broad term used to define conditions which are present at conception or occur before the end of pregnancy. In the case of cerebral palsy, a small number also occur after birth.

An anomaly is considered as a departure from normal development. Developmental anomalies are also sometimes called:

  • birth defects
  • congenital malformations
  • congenital anomalies.

For the WA Register of Developmental Anomalies (the Register), a developmental anomaly is defined as:

  • cerebral palsy
  • a structural (how the body is built) or functional (how the body works) anomaly, which is present at conception or occurs:
    • before the end of pregnancy and is diagnosed during pregnancy
    • after stillbirth or termination of pregnancy
    • after live birth, but before 6 years of age.

Structural developmental anomalies include conditions such as:

  • spina bifida
  • congenital dislocation of the hip
  • congenital heart defects.

Functional anomalies include conditions such as:

  • cystic fibrosis
  • haemophilia.

Fetal alcohol syndrome and Down syndrome are also developmental anomalies.

WARDA keeps a detailed list of some of the more common developmental anomalies.

A list of developmental anomalies that are not recorded by WARDA is also available.

Please note that these lists are not exhaustive and many less common anomalies are not listed.

More information

King Edward Memorial Hospital
PO Box 134 Subiaco 6904
Western Australia

Phone: 6458 2735
Fax: 6458 2636
Email: caroline.bower@health.wa.gov.au

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King Edward Memorial Hospital