Is Zach and Tori Roloff’s baby a dwarf? Fans have been curious about whether or not the first Little People, Big World grandchild would take after his father and his paternal grandparents ever since mom Tori announced her pregnancy last year. And ever since baby Jackson was born, his parents have been relatively quiet (barring an initial flurry of social media posts welcoming the bouncing baby boy) ever since his birth.
As In Touch Weekly reported on May 15, just three days after Jackson Kyle was born, and the day after the proud parents publicly announced his birth, Zach and Tori had been concerned about their baby being a dwarf when he was still in the womb.
“What am I going to say? ‘Oh yeah, I want a dwarf baby!’ [Or] ‘I can’t wait for that kid to be bullied’?”
Beyond concerns about bullying, there are also major health risks associated with dwarfism – or at least, the kind that Zachary Roloff has. He’s had multiple surgeries to combat the effects of achondroplasia, such as having a shunt implanted to drain excess cerebrospinal fluid, and surgery to correct the bowing of his legs. By comparison, Zach’s mother Amy, who also has achondroplasia, has not had such health problems.
— tori patton (@pattontori13) February 28, 2015
And in fact, at one point during Tori’s pregnancy, the baby’s limbs were smaller relative to the size of his torso; perhaps a sign of dwarfism.
Unfortunately for fans of Little People, Big World, it may be months or even years before obvious signs of dwarfism emerge in Jackson. As John Ruch notes in the Stupid Questions Blog, people born with dwarfism generally don’t show signs of the conditions as newborns.
“Speaking very generally, people with dwarfism have a normal birth length (in the range of 18 to 20 inches), with growth slowing only months or years later. However, short birth length is a characteristic of the rare Russell-Silver and Noonan syndromes, which have dwarfism as a symptom.”
As Zach and Tori themselves both said, Jackson Kyle was born weighing 9 pounds one ounce and was 20.5 inches long – if anything, he’s a tad on the large size!
A post shared by Tori Roloff (@toriroloff) on
According to a 2014 Newsmax report, dwarfism is generally diagnosed around two or three years of age. However, that same Newsmax report also notes that achondroplasia – the type of dwarfism that Zach has – does come with some obvious signs that are noticeable in utero or shortly after birth. Those include a large head with a broad forehead, bowed legs, misaligned teeth, protruding jaw, and forward curvature of the lower spine, among other signs.
There is, of course, a genetic component towards dwarfism, according to The Tech Museum of Innovation. Even if Zach had married and fathered a baby with a woman with dwarfism, the odds of them giving birth to a dwarf baby are three in four.
“Now imagine two parents with dwarfism. Which copy of a gene we get from our parents is random. So for this discussion, each parent has a 50-50 shot of passing down a copy that does not lead to dwarfism. What this means is that 25% of the time, the child will get a copy of the average height gene from both parents. The result will be a child of average height.”
Of course, this also means that a simple DNA test can confirm whether or not Jackson Kyle has dwarfism, according to The Mayo Clinic. Whether or not Zach and Tori have had that done remains unclear as of this writing. And, not to mention, it is their business and not the rest of the world’s concern.
In other words, if Zach and Tori Roloff’s baby is a dwarf, it won’t be obvious to the casual observer for months or even years; and if genetic testing has provided definitive answers, they aren’t revealing them.
[Featured Image by Aynur_sib/Thinkstock]