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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is gastroschisis?

Gastroschisis is a birth defect. Your baby's intestines, and sometimes other organs, are pushed through an opening near his or her belly button. The opening may be small or large. His or her intestines will float freely in amniotic fluid during pregnancy. This may cause the intestines to become irritated, swollen, or damaged. Your baby will be born with his or her intestines and any other involved organs outside of his or her body. Gastroschisis is a life-threatening emergency that needs surgery as soon as possible after your baby is born.

What increases my baby's risk for gastroschisis?

The exact cause of gastroschisis is not known. Your baby's risk may be increased if his or her mother used cigarettes, alcohol, decongestants, or NSAIDs during pregnancy. His or her risk may also be increased if his or her mother has urinary tract infections.

What do I need to know about delivery?

What will happen after my baby is born?

How is gastroschisis treated?

Your baby may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 3 months. He or she may need to stay longer if he or she has medical problems.

What are the risks of gastroschisis?

How can I prevent gastroschisis in a future pregnancy?

Take prenatal vitamins as directed. Make sure the vitamins contain 400 micrograms of folic acid. Folic acid helps prevent birth defects such as gastroschisis. Do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol while you are pregnant. Do not take any medicines unless your healthcare provider says it is okay. Ask your healthcare provider for other ways to prevent gastroschisis.

Call 911 if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I contact my baby's healthcare provider?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.