Gastroschisis—ChildEn Español (Spanish Version)
Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal wall. A gap in the muscles and skin of the abdominal wall allow the intestines and other abdominal organs to move out of the abdomen.
A gastroschisis may be small and only involve a small section of intestines or can be large with other abdominal organs pushing out of the abdominal wall. It may be associated with intestinal atresia.
Gastroschisis occurs during fetal development. The abdominal wall is made of muscles and connective tissue that helps to keep abdominal organs in place. In gastroschisis, the abdominal wall fails to close completely. The intestines and other organs may push out through this gap. A gastroschisis tends to occur to the right of the belly button.
Gastroschisis is more common in babies born to white, teenage mothers. Other factors that may increase the chances of your baby having gastroschisis include:
- Maternal smoking
- Alcohol during pregnancy
- Urinary tract infections during pregnancy
Gastroschisis will be visible.
Gastroschisis can be diagnosed by its appearance. It is visible at birth.
A blood test early in pregnancy might suggest the possibility of gastroschisis. It may also be seen with the fetal ultrasound.
Additional imaging tests may be done to help plan treatment.
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your baby. Treatment may include one or more of the following:
Your baby will need supportive care. Medications may include:
- Dextrose and electrolyte solutions for nutrition and hydration.
- Antibiotics if an infection is present or possible.
The goal of surgery is to put dislocated tissue back in place and close damaged wall. The type of surgery will depend on the extent of the gastroschisis.
Large defects may require several surgeries over a longer period of time.
To help reduce your chance of your baby having gastroschisis, quit smoking and avoid alcohol before pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about prenatal care and testing.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Public Health Agency of Canada
Birth defects-diagnosis. Available at:
. Updated February 24, 2011. Accessed March 28, 2013.
Birth defects-facts about gastroschisis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
. Updated March 26, 2013. Accessed March 27, 2013.
Gastroschisis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
. Updated August 28, 2012. Accessed March 27, 2013.
Holland AJ, Walker K, Badawi N. Gastroschisis: an update.
Pediatr Surg Int
Last Reviewed June 2013