What Antenatal Diagnosis means?
Antenatal diagnosis or diagnosis of disorders while the baby is still in mother’s womb is the cutting edge of medical science. The once opaque womb has been rendered transparent due to free availability of high resolution ultrasound. Two decades back pediatricians and pediatric surgeons used to get frustrated when they used to see a baby with a severe congenital malformation. They used to feel that “I wish I was there earlier”.
Ultrasound typically can pick up structural abnormalities in the developing babies especially after 16 weeks once the miniature organs are in place. As expected the specificity is more as the baby grows bigger. This has generated a whole new group of diseases- “Antenatally diagnosed disorders” or we call them “Unborn Patients”
Kidney abnormalities are one of the most common antenatal disorders, found in approximately 1% of all fetuses but the good part is that in up to 80% of them it may represent transient changes in form of slight swelling which goes away by itself either before or after birth. These anomalies are diagnosed before the baby is born and referred for an opinion of an expert pediatric urologist even before birth.
The major groups of anomalies seen in unborn babies are kidney abnormalities (swelling, absent kidney), hydrocephalus (excessive brain fluid leading to pressure damage on brain), cardiac anomalies, neural tube defects, certain chromosomal disorders, lung anomalies, tumors and cysts in belly.