Gastroschisis is a birth defect that creates a gap in the muscles and skin of the abdominal wall. Intestines can push through the gap to the outside of the body. A gastroschisis tends to occur to the right of the belly button.

A gastroschisis may be small and only involve a section of intestines or be large and involve other abdominal organs. It may be associated with intestinal atresia.

Normal Anatomy of the Abdominal Organs  
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Gastroschisis develops before birth during development of the abdominal wall. It is not clear why, but the abdominal wall does not close completely in one area. It may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.


Risk Factors  

Gastroschisis is more common in babies born to teenage mothers. Other factors that may increase the chances of your baby having gastroschisis include:

  • Maternal smoking
  • Alcohol during pregnancy
  • Urinary tract infection and STD around the time of conception


Intestines will be visible outside of the body. Often to the right of the bellybutton.