Chetana Malde, 31, held her newborn baby boy — Meet —in her lap and realised that she had taken the right decision of not terminating her pregnancy.
In the 19th week of her pregnancy, a sonography revealed that Malde’s unborn baby was suffering from a congenital defect that had created a hole in the foetus’s diaphragm. The diaphragm is a muscular partition that separates the thoracic cavity (heart and lungs) from the abdominal cavity.
“We consulted five specialists who advised us to terminate the pregnancy saying that the chances of survival are almost nil,” said the homemaker.
However, a group of specialists attached to Grace Maternity Hospital in Kandivli reassured them that the baby had a good chance of survival. A three-member team from the hospital — Dr Sarita Bhagwat, a paediatric surgeon, Dr Pooja Vazirani, a fetal medical expert and Dr Kartik Bhagat, a obstetrician — were instrumental in saving Meet.
“The baby was suffering from congenital right-sided diaphragmatic hernia, where there was a hole in the baby’s diaphragm. The liver had protruded into the chest through this hole and was putting pressure on the lung and heart,” said Bhagwat.
This would have affected lung development and the baby would have had difficulty in breathing after birth. One in 2,000 to 3,000 babies are born with this defect and generally doctors recommend termination of pregnancy.
But doctors at Grace Maternity Hospital said it was possible to manage the condition because of advances in the foetal medicine.
“We found few subtle signs that predicted that the impact of the defect on the lungs could be dealt with soon after birth and the child could lead a healthy life,” said Vazirani. “We were monitoring the growth of the baby every four weeks.”
On September 25, Malde had a normal delivery. After the delivery, the baby was operated where surgeons closed the defect by pushing the liver down and closing the hole with stitches.