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Abdominal Wall Birth Defects - rates increasing

A serious birth defect is appearing in maternity wards with increasing frequency, and experts do not know why.

Infants with the defect, called gastroschsis are born with intestines poking out of the abdominal wall. Other organs, like stomach and liver, may also be found outside the body at birth.

The prevalence of gastroschsis has increased by about 30% according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The defect occurs more often in babies born to mothers younger than 20, although the rate has increased among mothers of all ages.

Women who drink alcohol or smokers are more likely to have a baby with gastroschsis. But, these are risk factors, not causes.

The defect - which can be seen via ultra sound during pregnancy - always requires surgery quickly after birth to put the abdominal organs back in the body and to repair the abdominal wall. Whatever the strategy the bowel needs to be put back.

Once the abdominal wall is closed, babies can lead normal lives and fare very well assuming the bowel is not injured. It is a defect that can be addressed and is not generally fatal. However, there can be long term complications related to the bowel and a possible need for future surgery.

What is happening to our gastrointestinal systems ?

For reported statics read here,:
http://mobile.nytimes.com/health/

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