Diagnosis of Gastroschisis

In almost all cases, doctors can diagnose gastroschisis before birth on a prenatal (pregnancy) ultrasound. If your obstetrician believes your baby has gastroschisis, you may need to undergo the following additional tests before your baby’s birth:

  • Consultations with a high-risk pregnancy care team. You may need to meet with a high-risk pregnancy care team. This team can include a maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist, pediatric surgeon and neonatologist.
  • Fetal echocardiogram (ECG). This imaging test uses sound waves to check the function of your baby’s heart. The maternal-fetal medical specialists at Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies perform this test with consultants from our Fetal Care Clinic.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This imaging test uses magnetic fields to create detailed pictures of the inside of your baby’s developing body.

Treatments for Gastroschisis

If your child has gastroschisis, they will need surgery to repair it shortly after birth, as a baby cannot survive with the bowel outside their body. Sometimes babies with gastroschisis have too much of their bowel and organs outside of their body. In that case, the organs may need to be placed in a bag suspended above your baby’s bed so gravity can help ease the bowel into their belly. This procedure is called a silo and serves as protection from infection and to manage organ temperature. Each day, your baby’s bowel will slowly be moved into their belly, and eventually, they will have the hole in their belly closed.

If only a small amount of their bowel and organs are outside the body, surgery will involve placing the intestines back inside the baby’s body and repairing the hole. Your baby may need antibiotics to prevent infection during their early weeks of life.

Most babies with gastroschisis will temporarily stay in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to ensure their intestines are functioning well after surgery. It may take several weeks before your baby can eat by mouth. They may need IV nutrition (through their veins) for several weeks.

Hospital care

In the first few weeks of life, your baby will likely need intravenous (IV) feeding. Your baby’s neonatal care team will provide specific instructions and support for this process. At around three to four weeks of age, babies usually transition to breast milk or formula. Your child’s surgeon will provide special post-surgical care instructions.

Request an Appointment

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.