If you’ve recently heard about Trisomy 13, then it most likely came to your attention by way of expecting mother, Keke Wyatt.

The singer-songwriter and mother of ten shared her pregnancy news with the world back in February. But has since learned that her unborn child has been diagnosed with the rare chromosomal disorder.

If you’re an expecting mother, here’s everything that you should know about Trisomy 13 – otherwise known as Patau Syndrome.


It is a genetic disorder.

According to Mount Sinai Organization, Trisomy 13 arises when “a person has three copies of genetic materials from chromosome 13, instead of the usual two copies.”


This extra genetic material interferes with normal development.

Newborns can suffer from genetic effects such as: cleft lip or palate, clenched hands, a close or small set of eyes, weakened muscle tone, extra fingers or toes, hernias, a low set of ears, severe intellectual disabilities, seizures, scalp defects, skeletal abnormalities, small head, small lower jaw, and cryptorchidism.


Trisomy 13 is not an inherited disease and occurs in about one out of every ten thousand newborns.

Most cases of Trisomy 13 are not passed down through genetics, instead it forms through the process of fertilization between the sperm and the egg.


Exams and tests done at birth should reveal extreme side effects of the disorder.

Infants can be born with a “single umbilical artery at birth” which, doesn’t always, but can serve as an early sign of congenital heart disease. Trisomy 13 can also lead to the “abnormal placement of the heart towards the right side of the chest instead of the left.”

Gastrointestinal x-rays or ultrasounds may reveal the rotation of internal organs, and MRI and CT scans should reveal potential problems with the structure of the brain. 


Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for Trisomy 13.

Treatment for trisomy 13 will vary from child to child and largely depend on the specific symptoms of that child. 


Complications from Trisomy 13 will be seen rather quickly in the growth and development of the child.

A child with Trisomy 13 will most likely suffer from: difficulty breathing, lack of breathing or apnea, feeding problems, deafness, heart failure, seizures, and vision problems. According to the Mount Sinai Organization, it is also reported that ninety percent of children with Trisomy 13 die in the first year.