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Health Information For Parents
A baby born with an omphalocele has an opening where the umbilical cord goes into the belly. A membrane or thin sac that covers the internal organs bulges through the opening.
An omphalocele (ahm-FAL-uh-seel) happens because the belly wall doesn’t close as it should.
Some omphaloceles close on their own, but many need treatment, including surgery. Some kids born with omphaloceles have other health problems too.
An omphalocele happens while a baby is developing in the womb. The baby’s belly muscles don’t close completely to keep the internal organs inside the belly. Doctors think this might happen because of changes in genes or chromosomes. Or, it might be a combination of genes and things going on in the environment.
A baby born with an omphalocele is more likely to have other problems, such as:
Sometimes an omphalocele shows up on a prenatal ultrasound or other routine tests done during pregnancy. If doctors find out that a baby has an omphalocele before birth, they may do more tests to see if the baby has another health problem.
Sometimes doctors don’t know a baby has an omphalocele until birth.
If a baby is diagnosed with an omphalocele before birth, the parents and care team will plan to:
If a baby is diagnosed with an omphalocele at birth, the care team will develop a plan. Treatment for an omphalocele depends on its size and whether it has ruptured (burst open).
Some babies with omphaloceles may need to spend extra time in the hospital if they have trouble with breathing or feeding, or other medical problems.
The care team typically includes a pediatric surgeon, a neonatologist (a pediatrician specializing in complex newborn care), and NICU critical care nurses. If doctors diagnose a baby’s omphalocele during pregnancy, the care team also might include a high-risk pregnancy specialist (called a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or perinatologist).
If your baby has an omphalocele, your care team will be there to guide you. Be sure to:
By the time you hold your new baby for the first time, you’ve probably chosen your little one’s doctor. Learn about your newborn’s medical care.
If you’re a first-time parent, put your fears aside and get the basics in this guide about burping, bathing, bonding, and other baby-care concerns.
Learn what a NICU visit will be like for your little one, what you can do to help, and how to find support for yourself.
If your baby is getting medical care in you NICU, find out who will be caring for your baby and how they can help.
Having a newborn in the NICU can be a stressful time. Often, parents forget to ask important questions. This list can help you prepare for the next time you talk to your baby’s care team.
Gastroschisis is when a baby is born with the intestines, and sometimes other organs, sticking out through a hole in the belly wall near the umbilical cord.
A newborn’s growth and development is measured from the moment of birth. Find out if your baby’s size is normal, and what to expect as your baby grows.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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