“Gastroschisis is a relatively uncommon condition that occurs in approximately 1 in 5,000 live births. It is one of a group of birth defects known as abdominal wall defects, which occur very early in gestation and are characterized by an opening in the abdominal wall of the fetus.

Most cases of fetal gastroschisis involve the intestine and other abdominal organs herniating (protruding) through an opening (hole) in the abdominal wall and spilling out into the amniotic fluid around the fetus. This opening is usually found to the right of the belly button. As a consequence, the unprotected intestine becomes irritated, causing it to swell and shorten.

The longer the exposure to amniotic fluid, the more likely the intestine will become damaged. In addition, as the fetus continues to develop, the tight opening may squeeze the blood supply to the intestine or cause it to twist around itself. Either of these consequences can cause inflammation, intestinal blockage, loss or malfunction and lead to long-term feeding problems after the baby is born.

Watch this educational video series to hear parents, nurses and doctors talk about abdominal wall defects and the treatment options available to your child at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).” Read More


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