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Developmental disorders of the female reproductive tract are problems in a baby girl's reproductive organs that occur while she is growing in her mother's body.
A baby starts to develop its reproductive organs between weeks 4 and 5 of pregnancy. This development continues until the 20th week of pregnancy.
The development is a complex process. Many different things can interrupt the process. How severe your baby's problem is depends on when the interruption occurred. In general, the earlier development problems occur in the womb, the more serious the problem.
Problems in the development of a girl's reproductive organs may be caused by:
For example, some babies may have a genetic defect that prevents their body from producing a substance called 21-hydroxylase. If a developing baby girl lacks this substance, she will be born with a uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, but her external genitals will look like those found on boys. See: Congenital adrenal hyperplasia
Certain drugs that the mother takes can pass into the baby's bloodstream and interfere with organ development. One drug known to do this is diethylstilbestrol (DES). Doctors once prescribed this medicine to pregnant women to prevent miscarriage and early labor. However, scientists learned that baby girls born to women who took this drug had an abnormally shaped uterus. The drug also increased the daughters' chances of developing a rare form of vaginal cancer.
Sometimes, a developmental disorder can be seen as soon as the baby is born. It may cause life-threatening conditions in the newborn. Other times, the condition is not diagnosed until the girl is older.
The reproductive tract develops close to the urinary tract and kidneys. It also develops at the same time as several other organs. As a result, developmental problems in the female reproductive tract sometimes occur with problems in other areas, including the urinary tract, kidneys, and lower spine.
Other developmental disorders of the female reproductive tract include:
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