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To determine outcomes for babies with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (CDH) diagnosed prenatally and postnatally presenting to a tertiary unit.Fetal medicine database and neonatal surgical unit admission books were reviewed to identify cases of CDH over a 12-year period (Jan 1998– Dec 2009).A total of 132 cases of CDH were diagnosed prenatally and 39 cases diagnosed postnatally. Mean gestation at diagnosis was 22 weeks (range 13–37 weeks). Karyotyping was abnormal in 15.9%; abnormal karyotype in 3.6% of fetuses without other structural anomalies compared with 38.9% when other anomalies were identified. In 45 cases (34.1%) pregnancy was terminated. Two stillbirths occurred (2.3% of ongoing pregnancies). One hundred twenty-four babies were live born, of whom 98 babies underwent surgery. Survival to discharge of all live born babies was 72.6%; survival following surgery was 91.8%. Birthweight had a significant effect on survival (odds ratio 0.22, 95% confidence intervals 0.08–0.66). Survival for live born babies prenatally diagnosed was significantly lower (65.9%) than those diagnosed postnatally (92.3%).Abnormal karyotype was more common when CDH was associated with other anomalies. In multivariate analysis, lower birthweight and prenatal diagnosis had a significant impact on survival. Only prenatally diagnosed CDH survival figures should be utilised in prenatal counselling. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.