A diaphragmatic hernia is a defect in which the abdominal contents
protrude through an opening in the diaphragm into the thoracic (chest)
cavity. This usually results in respiratory distress and possible heart
complications. The diaphragm is a dome-shaped structure that divides
the thoracic, or chest cavity, from the abdominal cavity. This can be a
very serious complication and some babies will not be able to survive
no matter what interventions are available. An underlying chromosome
abnormality, genetic syndrome, isolated structural defect, or other
unknown causes can cause a diaphragmatic hernia. Careful monitoring
throughout pregnancy will be important to assess the baby’s development
and well-being. A diaphragmatic hernia will need to be surgically
repaired shortly after birth and the baby may require breathing support
if the lungs are underdeveloped.
CCAM (congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation)
A CCAM is a mass or tumor present in the baby’s lung. It is not
typically associated with other anomalies except for possible heart
complications if the size of the mass inhibits the heart’s proper
formation and functioning. The primary concern for a baby is possible
breathing complications if the lungs are not able to develop properly.
In some cases the CCAM gets large enough to cause the baby to develop
heart failure, which leads to excess fluid in the baby’s body.
Unfortunately, if this were to develop, survival is unlikely. In other
cases the CCAM shrinks on its own and causes little to no complications.
Careful monitoring of the baby’s development will be important.
Babies with a CCAM may or may not need surgical removal of the mass
Congenital Heart Defect
Congenital heart defects are one of the most common birth defects
occurring in approximately .5-1% of all pregnancies. Most congenital
heart defects are caused by a hole between the two upper chambers
(atria) or the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Some holes
require surgical repair after delivery while others close on their own.
Some babies have much more complicated heart defects involving multiple
abnormalities. A heart defect can be caused by an isolated structural
abnormality of the heart, an underlying chromosome abnormality, genetic
syndrome, maternal conditions such as diabetes, seizure disorder, drug
exposure or other unknown causes. Careful monitoring throughout
pregnancy may be important to assess the baby’s development and