There’s a ton of great information and misinformation out there about dwarfism and this post is about clarifying a handful of the misinformation.
First things first, no, achondroplasia is not the only type of dwarfism, although, it is the most common there are actually more than 200 different types of dwarfism. That’s right! More than 200!
Although I inherited my form of dwarfism, Spondyloepimetaphyseal Dysplasia (SEMD), from my mother the fact is that 80% of people with dwarfism are born to average height parents because the parents carried certain genes or as the result of a spontaneous mutation, which is how my mother was born with dwarfism to average height parents.
People with dwarfism are typically under 4 foot 10 inches tall but let’s be clear here, dwarfism is not just about how tall a person is or isn’t, there are medical issues that co-occur and different types of dwarfism have different co-occurring medical issues, like arthritis, cleft palate, club foot, and more.
While many average height parents might want a definitive answer about the potential for their child to be born with dwarfism it is important to understand that not all forms of dwarfism are noticeable in utero or even at birth, some can take until a child is 3 or 4 years old. Usually it takes a team of specialists who deal with issues surrounding dwarfism to get a diagnosis using things like genetic tests, ultrasound scans, and x-rays. And with so many forms of dwarfism it can take quite a long time to get a diagnosis.
Don’t despair, your baby is still perfect!