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  • I am told my fetus has diaphragmatic hernia—now what?

  •  MRIAn MRI of a CDH: The arrow indicates intestines in the left chest.

    Prenatal diagnosis is important in that it allows for patient/parent education, identification of those babies at risk for the worst outcome and the opportunity to provide prenatal intervention if possible.

    During routine prenatal care, around 15-20 weeks gestation, an ultrasound may demonstrate the existence of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia. Often, a level II ultrasound will be performed to confirm that the presence of CDH. That very detailed sonogram will look for the abdominal contents in the chest, identify the position of the liver in the abdomen or in the chest and try to assess the size of the lungs.

    When the diagnosis of CDH is suspected and a work up is arranged, a consultation with maternal-fetal medicine specialists, pediatric surgeons and neonatologists is arranged. Prenatal counseling involves a multidisciplinary team that also includes geneticists and genetic counselors, radiologists and other specialists. The counseling will include details about the nature and the outcome of the diagnosis and the possibility of prenatal intervention. Additionally, a plan for the remainder of your pregnancy and delivery of your baby will be discussed.


    The Fetal Treatment Program is a partnership of Hasbro Children's Hospital, Women & Infants' Hospital and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.