Although the exact cause of atrioventricular canal defect is unknown, several factors may increase the risk of a congenital heart defect, such as:

  • Down syndrome in the baby. Down syndrome is a genetic condition resulting from an extra 21st chromosome.
  • German measles (rubella) or another viral illness during early pregnancy.
  • Having a parent who had a congenital heart defect.
  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
  • Poorly controlled diabetes during pregnancy.
  • Taking some types of medications during pregnancy. Check with your doctor before taking any drugs while you're pregnant and even when you're trying to get pregnant.
Sept. 12, 2012