What is gastroschisis?

Gastroschisis, which means "belly cleft" in Greek, typically appears as a 2- to 4-centimeter opening of the abdomen, on the right side of the umbilical cord, according to the American Pediatric Surgical Association.

Gastroschisis is less severe than an omphalocele, but is still a dangerous condition that results in death in about 15 percent of cases.

The condition is the most common problem with the abdominal wall. About 40 percent of babies born with gastroschisis are either undersized or are born prematurely.

When a baby has gastroschisis, nothing is covering the baby's exposed intestine, which causes it to come into contact with the amniotic fluid while the fetus is still in the womb. When this occurs, a hard film develops around the intestine. That hinders the newborn's intestinal function and that can last for months.

Continue Learning about Gastrointestinal Tract Birth Defects

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