Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
What is CDH?
It is a condition where the baby’s diaphragm has not formed correctly leaving a defect (hole). The diaphragm is a thin sheet of muscle which keeps the chest and stomach separate and helps us to breathe.
Due to the defect (hole), organs such as stomach, bowels and liver can be taken up where the lungs and heart should be, this can prevent the lungs from growing normally.
Why does this happen?
It is unclear why this happens. It is not caused by something you have or have not done. Rarely it can be associated with an underlying genetic condition.
What happens next?
You will be able to discuss the scan findings with the Fetal Medicine midwife or appropriately trained professional. You will be referred to the Fetal Medicine Clinic and will be given an appointment to see the Consultant Obstetrician for further discussion and another scan to confirm the diagnosis.
How does CDH affect the baby?
Unfortunately, this is a serious condition. Many babies with CDH have problems with their lungs called Pulmonary Hypoplasia. This is due to the lungs being smaller and squashed.
Another issue may be increased pressure in the arteries in the lungs (pulmonary Hypertension).
There is an association with heart defects.
Normally CDH is isolated but about one in ten babies may have a chromosomal or genetic disorder
The outlook is guarded and prognosis for survival remains around 50 per cent although can be higher in certain centres.
Picture of CDH
Understandably this is an incredibly stressful and difficult time for you. If you have any further questions, please contact the Fetal Medicine Midwife on the contact numbers below.
Royal Gwent Hospital 01633 234747
Cardiff Fetal Medicine Unit 02920 742279
Bristol Cardiology Unit 0117 3425394
ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) - Offer information and support to parents who are making decisions before, during and after tests in pregnancy
Tel no: 084507722990
ASW (Antenatal Screening Wales)
Tel no: 08007316991
CDH support group on Facebook.