There are Many Neonatal Conditions, this page provides helpful insight into the most common ones.
Ambiguous genitalia refers to the baby who is born with external genitalia that look neither completely female nor completely male. Oftentimes this causes much anxiety for the caregivers of the baby as one is not certain whether to raise the baby as a girl or a boy. This condition is treated by a number of specialists in a team.
Anorectal malformations occur as a spectrum of disease; where the anus (bum) is not opening in the correct position, therefore the baby is unable to pass stool. This is usually picked up just after birth by the examining doctor.
Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia
Congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) is a birth defect of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the miscle between the chest and the tummy, and this muscle is what helps one to breathe. The most common type of CDH is a Bochdalek hernia; other types include Morgagni hernia, diaphragm eventration and central tendon defects of the diaphragm.
Conjoined twins develop when an early embryo partially separates to form two individuals. The babies are often attached at the chest, pelvis or buttocks. The twins may share organs.
Surviving twins may be separated surgically. Success depends on where they’re joined and which organs they share.
Esophageal atresia and Tracheo-esophageal fistula
Esophageal atresia (EA) is a congenital defect. This means it occurs before birth. There are several types.
In most cases, the upper esophagus ends and does not connect with the lower esophagus and stomach. Most infants with EA have another defect called tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF) where the lower esophagus that is attached to the stomach, then attaches itself to the trachea (the windpipe).
Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall. The baby’s intestines are found outside of the baby’s body, exiting through a hole beside the belly button. The hole can be small or large and sometimes other organs, such as the stomach and liver, can also be found outside of the baby’s body.
Hirschsprung’s disease involves missing nerve cells in the muscles of part or all of the large intestine (colon). Present at birth, it causes difficulty passing stool.
The main symptom is a newborn’s failure to have its first poop within 48 hours after birth. Other symptoms include a swollen stomach and vomiting.
Malrotation and volvulus
Intestinal malrotation, also known as intestinal nonrotation or incomplete rotation, refers to any variation in the twisting, looping and fixing of the intestines. The most common type found in pediatric patients is incomplete twisting predisposing to midgut volvulus, where the intestines knot themselves around the blood supply, requiring emergency operative intervention.
Meconium ileus is a bowel obstruction that occurs when the meconium (the first black poo) in your child’s intestine is even thicker and stickier than normal, creating a blockage in a part of the small intestine called the ileum. Most infants with meconium ileus have a disease called cystic fibrosis.
Meconium plug/ Small left colon syndrome
Meconium can form plugs that cause a functional colonic (large intestine) blockage in a newborn. It is usually transient and affects the left colon.
Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), which typically occurs in premature babies who have undergone a significant amount of stress. They are usually formula-fed. There is variable damage to the intestinal tract, ranging from mild infection to the lining of the intestines (mucosa) to full-thickness infection leading to cell death (necrosis) and perforation (holes) in the wall of the intestine.
An omphalocele is a birth defect in which an infant’s intestine or other abdominal organs are outside of the body because of a hole in the belly button (navel) area. The intestines are covered only by a thin layer of tissue and can be easily seen.
Tongue tie (Frenulum)
The condition is present at birth. A short, tight band of tissue tethers the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth. It can affect how a child eats and speaks and can interfere with breastfeeding.
Symptoms include difficulty sticking out the tongue past the lower front teeth or lifting it to the upper teeth, making ice cream licking almost impossible. Many people have no symptoms.
Umbilical granuloma (UG) is the most common belly-button abnormality in babies, where excessive tissue grows to form an angry, red looking lump that weeps fluid. If left alone, they can persist for up to two months, as the skin cells have difficulty growing over this tissue.
Umbilical infections (omphalitis)
Omphalitis is an infection of the umbilical stump (cord). It typically presents as a superficial infection with redness of the skin (cellulitis) and a malodorous discharge from the belly-button. It can be very dangerous, as the infection can spread to involve the entire abdominal wall and may progress to necrotizing fasciitis, myonecrosis (muscle and cell death of the tummy wall), blood stream infections, or even death of the baby.
Umbilical problems (urachal cyst/sinus, patent meckel’s diverticulum)
A urachal cyst is a connection remaining from the early development of the bladder from fetal life. This connection can be completely open allowing the baby to wee from its belly-button, or it can close off partially leaving a little fluid collection behind that is then predisposed to infections. This can then present as a red swelling below the belly-button that would need to be drained. A Meckel’s diverticulum is a connection between the intestines and the belly-button that can similarly either allow stool (poo) to drain via the belly-button or cause cyst formation or even cause tight scar tissue within the tummy that can then cause twisting of the intestines around it.