Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which the baby’s intestines extend outside of the abdomen through a hole next to the belly button.[2] The size of the hole is variable, and other organs including the stomach and liver may also occur outside the baby’s body.[1] Complications may include feeding problems, prematurityintestinal atresia, and intrauterine growth restriction.[1][3]

The cause is typically unknown.[3][1] Rates are higher in babies born to mothers who smoke, drink alcohol, or are younger than 20 years old.[3][1] Ultrasounds during pregnancy may make the diagnosis.[1] Otherwise diagnosis occurs at birth.[1] It differs from omphalocele in that there is no covering membrane over the intestines.[3]

Treatment involves surgery.[1] This typically occurs shortly after birth.[1] In those with large defects the exposed organs may be covered with a special material and slowly moved back into the abdomen.[1] The condition affects about 4 per 10,000 newborns.[3] Rates of the condition appear to be increasing.[1]


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