The diaphragm is the muscle between the chest and belly that helps you breathe. A hernia is a hole or weak spot in a muscle.
What is a diaphragmatic hernia?
A diaphragmatic hernia is a hole or weak spot in the diaphragm that allows organs in the belly to bulge into the chest.
Babies can be born with a diaphragmatic hernia
The baby's stomach, intestine, liver, or spleen may bulge into the chest on one side and push on the lung
A diaphragmatic hernia is almost always on the left
It may cause severe breathing problems at birth
If the abdominal organs push into the chest before birth, the lung on that side may not develop normally. If the abdominal organs push into the chest after birth, your baby will have a hard time breathing.
What causes a diaphragmatic hernia?
Doctors aren't sure why some babies develop a diaphragmatic hernia, but it often happens in babies with other birth defects.
How can doctors tell if my baby has a diaphragmatic hernia?
Doctors may find a diaphragmatic hernia before your baby’s birth during a routine ultrasound Ultrasonography Ultrasonography is a safe imaging test that uses sound waves to create a moving picture of the insides of your body. Ultrasonography doesn't use radiation (x-rays). Ultrasonography is also called... read more . After birth, doctors do a chest x-ray Plain X-Rays A plain x-ray is an imaging test that takes a picture of the inside of your body. It uses a low dose of x-ray radiation. X-rays show body parts according to how dense (solid) they are. Doctors... read more .
How do doctors treat a diaphragmatic hernia?
To treat a diaphragmatic hernia, doctors will:
If needed, give your baby oxygen with a breathing machine (ventilator)
Do surgery to repair the hole or weak spot in your baby’s diaphragm