Pregnancy complications can arise no matter how healthy the expectant mother is or how careful she’s been to protect her precious bundle of joy. Certain complications are minor—while others pose a more serious threat.
And for one first-time mother, finding out her unborn child has gastroschisis sent her and husband into a distressed tailspin of fear.
Gastroschisis is a birth defect of the abdominal (belly) wall. The baby’s intestines stick outside of the baby’s body, 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 stick outside of the baby’s body.
Soon after the baby is born, surgery will be needed to place the abdominal organs inside the baby’s body and repair the abdominal wall. Even after the repair, infants with gastroschisis can have problems with feeding, digestion of food, and absorption of nutrients. To read more how one family handles a gastroschisis diagnosis and the subsequent but warranted emotions from this experience, click here.
The whole experience is a time of mixed feelings: devastation, sadness, and uncertainty. For most parents, the news that an abnormality has been identified in their unborn baby is completely unexpected—it comes as a shock. Whichever way the diagnosis is made, most people are quite unprepared for the reality.
I know I would be.
If your child has a birth defect, you might be feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. But please remember you’re not alone.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 120,000 babies are born in the United States each year with birth defects.
It’s important to know that many people and resources are available to help you and your child.