'Teen Mom 2': Medical Reality Intrudes on MTV Reality Show

PHOTO Reality show star Leah Messer and her twins on MTV?s "Teen Mom 2."
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Now here's a dose of reality. New mother Leah Messer learned in the last episode of MTV's "Teen Mom 2" that one of her twins may have disabilities.

The reality star left the doctor's office crying after hearing the devastating news that her 1-year-old daughter Aliannah was not growing as well as her twin sister.

On the show, Aliannah shrieks as the doctor attempts to straighten her crooked legs.

"It's pretty obvious that there are deficits," said the doctor, who could not provide more details, but immediately ordered an MRI of the child's spine. "To me, it looks like her arms are too short. She looks a little disproportioned. You see that? There certainly are things that aren't working."

He suspected a "nerve-rooted injury" could be causing the deformity.

The twins were born in an emergency Caesarian section and Aliannah was born in the breach position -- or legs first.

Aliannah might have some type of skeletal dysplasia, according to pediatrician Dr. Michael B. Bober, who does not treat the girl .

That condition can be marked by disproportionate growth, where the limbs appear short or long when compared to the trunk.

"Twin gestation, breech presentation and being the first pregnancy for their mother are all independent risk factors for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH)," said Bober, who is co-director of the Skeletal Dysplasia Program at A.I. duPont Hospital in Philadelphia.

"An infant with DDH might exhibit signs of pain during certain hip movements."

If the dysplasia, or displacement of the hip, is picked up in the first few months of life, it can almost always be treated successfully with a brace. Sometimes surgery is necessary.

After the doctor's visit, Messer called Corey Simms, who is the twins' father. The couple first appeared on the prequel show, "16 and Pregnant," and were recently married.

Both MTV shows have been under heavy fire for encouraging teen pregnancy and painting an attention-getting picture of pregnancy and motherhood.

"Teen Mom 2" and "16 and Pregnant" give viewers an unvarnished look at the challenges teen mothers face," responded a spokesman from MTV. "By telling these stories, we're raising consciousness about the issue and educating audiences about prevention in a way that's relevant and authentic."

With more realistic story lines, experts like Leslie Hughes, a nurse practitioner at the Teen Ob Clinic at Thomas Jefferson Hospital, says that television is "doing a better job."

"A few years ago, Hollywood glamorized teen pregnancy with girls like Britney Spears' younger sister being called, 'the little homemaker,'" she said. "I didn't think that was cute at all."

"But 'Teen Mom' shows the harsh realities -- it's not just a dress-up doll," said Hughes. "It's a major responsibility."

Amber Portwood and Others Misbehave

MTV cites research done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, that revealed among teens who have watched "16 and Pregnant," 82 percent think the show helps teens better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood and how to avoid it.

Many of these shows have been marked by teen "misbehaviors," according to clinical psychologist Judy Kuriansky.

Messer and Simms of "Teen Mom 2" originally broke up after she cheated on him, but got back in his good graces.

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