A strange birth defect is on the rise in the United States, and scientists are at a loss to explain it.
Gastroschisis is a birth defect that causes a baby’s intestines to protrude outside of his/her body, through a hole in the abdominal wall beside the belly button. Sometimes this hole is very small, but it can also be quite large, and other organs such as the stomach and liver can extend from the baby’s body.
The birth defect forms during the early stages of pregnancy when the fetal abdominal wall fails to develop properly. As a result, the bowel can become irritated, causing it to shorten, twist, or swell as the intestines are not covered in a protective sac.