Abdominal Wall Defects
An abdominal wall defect is a gap in the skin and muscles of the belly. The intestines come out through the gap and are exposed to air.
Abdominal wall defects are birth defects that are visible right after birth
Your baby's intestines bulge out through a gap in the belly
The gap is usually in or near the belly button
Sometimes the intestines are covered by a thin membrane
If the intestines are not covered by a membrane, they can be irritated by amniotic fluid before birth
Your baby will need surgery to put the intestines back in the belly and close the gap
Babies with abdominal wall defects often have other birth defects or genetic problems (such as Down syndrome).
Doctors will treat your baby’s abdominal wall defect as soon as your baby is born. They will:
Sometimes doctors must take a few days to slowly stretch the skin of your baby’s stomach before surgery so there’s enough skin to cover the opening. If a large amount of intestine is sticking out of your baby’s belly, they may move it back into the belly a little at a time over several days or weeks.