Gastroschisis is a rare birth defect that occurs early in development, where the intestinal contents remain outside of the fetus’ body, leaving an unusual hole in the baby’s abdominal wall. The baby’s bowel (intestines), stomach and sometimes other organs, such as their liver, develop outside of the body. As the baby grows in their mother, the bowel can become irritated, damaged or swollen. If your baby has this condition, they will need surgery very soon after birth to repair it. Most babies born with gastroschisis do not have any other health conditions.

Symptoms of Gastroschisis

As long as a mom has regular prenatal check-ups throughout her pregnancy, her obstetrician can diagnose this condition before the baby’s birth. An ultrasound image will show the baby’s bowel developing outside the abdomen by week 18 to 20 of pregnancy.

When to see a doctor after surgery

If your baby has any trouble feeding or difficulty moving their bowels, contact your child’s doctor immediately.

Causes of Gastroschisis

The causes of gastroschisis are unknown.

Who’s at risk

There are no known risk factors for this condition. Gastroschisis does not seem to run in families.

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Contact an Orlando Health doctor

If you suspect that your child may have gastroschisis, make an appointment with an Orlando Health pediatrician today so your child can start on the road to improved health.