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What are gastroschisis and omphalocele?

Gastroschisis and omphalocele occur when something goes awry during the development of the organs. About six to 10 weeks after conception, a baby's intestines, liver and stomach jut into the umbilical cord. By the tenth week, the baby's intestines generally go back into the abdomen. Throughout the early stages of development, there is a small opening in the baby's abdominal muscles. This is where the umbilical cord passes through on its way to the placenta. In later stages of development, these abdominal muscles grow together and this tiny opening closes. When the abdominal organs do not return to the abdominal cavity, the muscles fail to close and either gastroschisis or omphalocele results, depending on the severity.

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