Learning About Meckel's Diverticulum in Newborns

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What is Meckel's diverticulum?

Meckel's diverticulum is a small pouch on the wall of your baby's small intestine. The pouch is a congenital defect. This means your baby was born with it.

The pouch was part of your baby's digestive system before he or she was born. The digestive system changes by the time of birth, and the old system is absorbed into the baby's body. But sometimes a part of it is not absorbed before birth. Your baby does not need the pouch now. If the pouch doesn't cause any problems, it doesn't need to be treated.

Sometimes the pouch can cause problems with the intestines, such as bleeding and blockage. The pouch may need to be removed.

Your baby may need special care, such as being in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). This may be scary for you. But the hospital staff understands this. They will explain what happens and will answer your questions.

How is it treated?

  • If the pouch causes problems, your baby will be watched carefully and given fluids and nutrition. He or she may also need surgery to remove the pouch. Your baby will be asleep during surgery.
  • Your baby will get medicine. This may include medicines given through a blood vessel.

What can you expect?

  • You may see tubes and wires attached to your baby. This can be scary to see. But these things help the doctor treat your baby. The tubes supply air, fluid, and medicines to your baby. The wires are attached to machines that help the doctor keep track of your baby's vital signs. These include temperature, blood pressure, breathing rate, and pulse rate.
  • It may seem that your baby is getting lots of tests. All of these tests help your doctor keep track of your baby's condition and give the best treatment possible.
  • The hospital staff will give your baby the nutrition he or she needs. The doctor may feed your baby through an IV that goes into a blood vessel.
  • It's hard to be apart from your baby, especially when you worry about his or her condition. Know that the hospital staff is well prepared to care for babies with this condition. They will do everything they can to help. If you need it, get support from friends and family. Ask the hospital staff about counselling and support.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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