Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall. The baby's intestines are found outside of the baby's body, exiting through a hole beside the belly button. The hole can be small or large and sometimes other organs, such as the stomach and liver, can also be found outside of the baby's body.
Gastroschisis occurs early during pregnancy when the muscles that make up the baby's abdominal wall do not form correctly. A hole occurs which allows the intestines and other organs to extend outside of the body, usually to the right side of belly button. Because the intestines are not covered in a protective sac and are exposed to the amniotic fluid, the intestines can become irritated, causing them to shorten, twist, or swell.
*Cases per 10,000 Live Births
**White, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander categories are all non-Hispanic
Data Source: California Birth Defects Monitoring Program Registry, 2012-2016 (PDF),
California Central Valley Counties (Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Merced, San
Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tulare).
Back to Data Sheets