Malformations of organ systems occur in early pregnancy and may be diagnosed during pregnancy through ultrasound scans. However, other malformations may not be noticed till after the baby is born. Some malformations are clearly visible externally. Other malformations may not be detected until a few days later, for example, a baby with congenital intestinal obstruction may not be able to feed well, begin to vomit or have difficulty in passing motion after milk feeds are started.
Some of these conditions are associated with changes in the genetic material from parents (chromosomes), or due to environmental effects during early pregnancy. In most cases, the cause is unknown.
Examples of these conditions include
There is no proper connection of the feeding tube (esophagus) to the stomach, and an abnormal connection exists between the trachea (wind pipe) and the esophagus.
The opening of the rectum is absent (imperforate anus) or the anus opening is at an abnormal position. This malformation is sometimes associated with malformations of the heart, limbs, and spine.
The presence of a posterior urethral valve in male infants obstruct urine flow out of the bladder and may predispose to urinary tract infection and kidney damage if not treated.
There is a swelling on the side of the neck filled with fluid, which large enough may cause difficulty in breathing.
Treatment options depend on the specific condition. In preparation for surgery, affected babies will need to be kept fasted and an intravenous drip started to maintain hydration. Postoperative care will be required in the Neonatal ICU.