What is Gastroschisis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Epidemiology, Prognosis, Risk Factors

A millions of baby are born every second across the globe. While many come out to this new world in healthy conditions, some of them tend to be born with some kind of diseases or disorders. Although this is a very rare case seen in the babies throughout the world but the possibility of giving birth to a baby with gastroschisis cannot be neglected. Mentioned below is the detailed description of the conditions and various aspects, which are attached to it.

What is Gastroschisis

What is Gastroschisis?

Gastroschisis is a medical term given to an abdominal disorder of a new born baby. In this condition, usually the intestine of the baby comes out of the abdominal region and sticks out of the body through a hole just beside belly button. However, it is also observed that sometimes, the vital organs such as stomach or liver come out of the abdomen. The condition is said to be a serious issue if not taken care of by the professionals in a proper way.

Symptoms of Gastroschisis

There is no particular method evolved so far in medical history by which the symptoms of gastroschisis can be defined. Although if you are feeling discomfort around your stomach while the baby is inside you, an early diagnosis may help you to find out the root of the problem and you can avoid future complications.
However only after a successful delivery of the baby, gastroschisis can immediately be identified. After birth, if baby is suffering from gastroschisis, it looks like:

  • Having a lump in abdomen
  • The intestine is sticking out of the abdominal wall just beside the umbilical cord.
  • These are clear indications of gastroschisis.

Epidemiology of Gastroschisis

Gastroschisis is a congenital malformation of the abdominal region in newborns. The frequency of occurrence of the condition is 1 in 2000 live births and the prevalence is increasing with time. It is one of the relatively common congenital anomaly encountered by neonatologists and pediatric surgeons in today’s world.

Prognosis of Gastroschisis

It may seem that such disorder can be deadly. It is indeed, if the baby with gastroschisis is not put through proper medical attention. Although it may seem odd but the babies who have been through a good medical care and treatment can lead a healthy lifestyle as others. However all depends on the size of the abdominal cavity of the baby suffering from gastroschisis. As since the intestine and in some case the organs come out of the body, the abdominal cavity of the baby develops accordingly. If the cavity is large enough to put everything back safely, the baby will recover soon and can lead a normal lifestyle. On the other hand, if the cavity is small, then surgical complications may arise, thus leading to high risks for survival.

Causes of Gastroschisis

There can be many possible reasons for gastroschisis but the most crucial one which the doctors all over the world believed to be the main culprit is the genetics. The genes or the chromosomal change in the fetus might be the reason behind causing such disorder. According to some recent studies, the development of fetus inside the womb depends a lot on the mother’s regular habits such as eating, sleeping or the medicines she takes during her pregnancy. The gene plays a major role in case of such disorder, even though the parents do not have any major kind of problems in them, the genes which they are carrying may results in such disorder.

Again, it can also be caused due to disruption in the blood supply during the first eight weeks of pregnancy when the fetus fails to develop the abdominal wall accurately due to some errors in blood flow. These results in building up of a small hole just beside the umbilical cord thus, pushing the internal organs such as intestine or stomach out of the abdomen. The organs thus sticking out of the body becomes vulnerable as they are not inside their protective sac; they sometimes get twisted or swelled. The accurate reason behind such disruption in blood supply is not known; however, it is also considered to be the main reason behind baby born with gastroschisis.

Risk Factors of Gastroschisis

As per recent study by a group of researchers, they have pointed out certain valuable points which need to be well understood by the readers. The risk of baby getting affected by gastroschisis depends a lot on a women’s behavior during her pregnancy period. So the mothers need to be quite careful during their pregnancy so as to deliver a healthy baby. Mentioned below are some behaviors which can lead to gastroschisis.

  • Teenage Pregnancy as a Risk Factor for Gastroschisis: The first is the teenage pregnancy. Many doctors believe that pregnancy during teenage years pose a maximum threat to the fetus as the mother’s body is not capable to provide all kind of elements required for growth of a fetus.
  • Effects of Smoking or Drinking to Trigger Gastroschisis: Women who smoke or drink during their pregnancy are most likely to give birth to a baby with gastroschisis.
  • Drug Abuse During Pregnancy can Lead to Gastroschisis: Uncontrolled consumption of medicines during pregnancy period may result in gastroschisis.

Diagnosis of Gastroschisis

There are not many ways to diagnose a baby suffering from gastroschisis when inside the womb. However, there are some situations when doctors might be able to understand the serious condition of the baby. Every woman has to go through a routine ultrasound before giving birth to the baby. This is when the doctors can diagnose gastroschisis. Also, a blood test may tell the doctors about such condition of the baby. However, physical examination of a new born baby is enough for the doctors to diagnose gastroschisis.

Treatment of Gastroschisis

The treatment of gastroschisis is possible with success rates of 90 to 95 percent. However if any such cases arises, the baby needs to be taken care of in proper manner with all medical help they can. Two possible situations may come in front of the medical professionals such as minor gastroschisis with only a small portion of intestine sticking out of the abdomen and a major gastroschisis in which vital organs comes out of the belly.

If it is a minor one, a quick surgery soon after the birth to put back the intestine in its position can be done; whereas if the child is suffering from a major gastroschisis, the treatment can go much longer. The doctors will need to place the organs back in their position in a step by step format. This will also help the baby to recover as soon as possible. In the mean time, the organs, which stick out of the body should be managed properly in order to avoid any kind of infection.

A baby born with gastroschisis can sometimes have problems with malabsorption of vitamins and minerals from food. This must be treated by experienced pediatrician who has taken care of the child right after birth and the surgery for a better livelihood. However, if the condition of gastroschisis is accompanied by other congenital and developmental anomalies, then a long-term care is required.

Lifestyle and Coping with Gastroschisis

The rate of baby born with gastroschisis has increased from 1.0 percent in 10,000 to 3.0 percent in 10,000 births over the past few years. Fortunately, as our medical technology has advanced and reached beyond our imagination, gastroschisis can now be cured with a big success rates. The babies thus treated from gastroschisis, does not face any difficulties in coping up with their lifestyle in near future unless there is some major complications during birth. A baby born with gastroschisis can lead a healthy lifestyle if he or she is treated in a proper manner.


If a baby is born with gastroschisis, the infant needs to be properly managed by the professionals. Hence, it is also advised to always opt for the best medical facility in your town for your delivery. It is better to prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. In this respect, the experienced professionals can take care of situations like this one. Although the babies who are born with gastroschisis recovers very fast from their disorder after the series of surgery but still why one should be willingly take risks; and hence avoiding the risk factors is extremely important. The pregnant women are also advised to monitor their behavior during the pregnancy period so as to avoid such kinds of errors.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 6, 2018

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