What is Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia?

Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) is a congenital malformation where a hole in the diaphragm allows abdominal organs to move into the chest. When the organs move, they limit space for the lungs, causing the lungs to not develop properly. This results in pulmonary hypoplasia (incomplete development of the lungs) or pulmonary hypertension (increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery, vein or capillaries).

It occurs in 1 of every 2,500 live births. The severity of CDH depends on the position of the liver.


A physician diagnoses CDH during pregnancy from an ultrasound. Babies diagnosed with CDH are be closely monitored prenatally and through delivery.


Once the baby is delivered, neonatologists and neonatal nurses will provide specialized breathing assistance before they are moved to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for further care. Surgical or ECMO procedures may be required based on the severity of CDH.

What can I do?

  • If your baby has been diagnosed with a CDH, keep your follow-up appointments so your physician can keep a close watch on your baby.
  • Choose to deliver at a hospital that offers an advanced NICU, like Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach.


Learn more about Miller Children’s NICU


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

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