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Rate of Stomach Birth Defects Increases Over 20 Year Time Period

Gastroschisis is a severe birth defect that is characterized by a fetus’ intestines growing outside of the stomach wall, through a hole that is near the belly button. The birth defect occurs when the fetus’ abdominal wall is not formed correctly, and typically occurs early on in a pregnancy. For two decades, the rate of this serious birth defect has been increasing in the United States, and has more than doubled amongst black mothers over an 18-year period (see the full article in Philly.com for more information).

Gastroschisis Complications

The complications associated with gastroschisis are many. First of all, as soon as the baby is born, surgery must be performed to place the baby’s intestines within its body.

However, even if the surgery is successful, the baby may still suffer from long-term complications. Some of these complications include complications associated with trouble breast-feeding, absorption of nutrients, and digestion of food.

Causes and Risk Factors of Gastroschisis

Exactly what causes gastroschisis is unknown, but many scientists believe that is a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Certain medications, what the mother eats and drinks, and things a mother comes in contact with during her pregnancy may all affect a baby’s risk of developing gastroschisis. Babies born to teenage mothers have a higher risk of developing gastroschisis, as do babies who are born to mothers who use tobacco or consume alcohol.

Suzanne Gilboa, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities told reporters for Philly.com (cited above) that it is unknown why the rates of gastroschisis are increasing. To be clear, teen pregnancies are not increasing, and actually decreased over the same time period, and therefore cannot explain the rise. More research must be done in order to find out why the complication is becoming more prevalent.

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, Gilboa stated that a healthy weight, a healthy diet, avoiding drug use, and not smoking or drinking while pregnancy can all help to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Good prenatal care may also be important.

Birth Injury Lawyers Serving Pennsylvania and New Jersey

Gastroschisis is a scary complication. Luckily, the birth defect, despite being on the rise, is still relatively rare. Further, it is often treatable and is not necessarily life-threatening.

At the law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. we are interested in staying informed of research regarding health. If you believe that your baby has suffered a birth defect or birth injury due to the actions of another – such as a defective pharmaceutical or negligent prenatal care – we want to help you.

Our experienced birth injury and medical malpractice lawyers have been serving people in New Jersey and Pennsylvania for many years, and understand how troubling a birth injury can be. When you are at your lowest, we want to help you explore options for improving your future. To schedule a free case consultation with us today, call us now at (215) 567-3500, or contact us using our online form.

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