Babies hands born: a physician explains the possible causes of the malformations

The North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of health wants to get a closer Overview of all hospitals in NRW queries. In the Sankt Marien-Hospital Buer in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, were born between mid-June and early September, three children with failure-formed hands.

The children were each applied to a Hand of a palm and fingers only rudimentary. A first comparison of the affected families revealed no hint to a possible cause. So what could be the reason for the malformations?

Babies without hands: 40 of 10,000 with malformations born

It is striking that in this short period of time in Gelsenkirchen three cases, however, the accumulation could be statistically normal, says Dr. Peter toennies, head physician of the gynaecological clinic at the hospital Bethanien Moers. Of 10,000 children 40 would be born with malformations of any kind.

“From individual cases, no causal scientific connection can be restore. The reasons for the malformations of these babies are not to prove, without a doubt,“ says Tönnies, specializing in obstetrics and perinatal medicine. Nevertheless, there are four possibilities that could have led to the malformations:

Single substances of medicines or industrial products that the mother harm, can be in individual cases in a certain period of time for the Embryo in the mother’s womb dangerous. As particularly critical of the sixth and seventh weeks of pregnancy, because in this time the arms and legs are formed.


Also infections can lead to the formation of toxins, which can damage the Embryo. Here are the sixth through eighth pregnancy are week as particularly critical. After the 13. The development of the baby is completed, and it only grows.

Genetic Factors

Some pollutants can affect the chromosomes of the embryo and the “Blueprint” of the child change. Mother or father of the baby can wear these mutations already, without you even show symptoms, and the Baby pass. Sometimes also so-called spontaneous mutations in the mother’s womb occur. Cases of this kind are usually more complex, says Tönnies: “Since only one Arm is affected, but also other parts of the body.”


The child is protected in the womb by a shell, and amniotic fluid called. In rare cases, can form in this so-called membrane of the egg ribbons that wrap around the limbs of the baby. It comes to blood circulation disturbances and arms and legs will not develop properly. “Experienced fine diagnostician can detect with an ultrasound and the parents would inform. This is also an ethical question. What is then the consequence, is a different question,“ says toennies.

Babies without hands: malformations in Euskirchen, Germany, and France

The “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” reported similar Hand deformities in the district of Euskirchen. In France recently 20 similar malformations were appeared in babies. Most occurred in the administrative district of Morbihan, in the extreme West of the country, some have been reported also from the East from a rural area in the city of Lyon. The Public will not speculate on possibly contaminated ground water or pesticides, a scientific confirmation of the fact there is.

Babies without hands: a nation-wide Register of missing

The need to investigate these cases now, and the causes investigate, calls for Tönnies. “The most important consequence must be a nationwide Register, in which malformations in a systematic and detailed to be captured.” So far, there is not such a collection.

According to a Federal evaluation of the perinatal statistics of the Institute for quality assurance and transparency in health care (IQTIG) be in 2017 in Germany 6884 children with malformations in hospitals born, such as the Federal health announced the Ministry. The be about 0.89 percent of the newborns.

The perinatal statistics recorded accordingly, however, only the number of malformations-born children – it contains no information about the type of the malformation. As is often the extremities were affected, cannot be determined.

“Of course I can understand that Pregnant women are now worried. But I assume that it is a random occurrence. Apart from the tight controls to the gynecologist it is for General tips, unfortunately, still too early,“ says toennies. (with Reuters and AFP)

This article was written by Tanja Wessendorf

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