Definition

Omphalocele is a birth defect. It is a gap in the muscles and skin where the belly button should be. Abdominal tissue and organs push through the gap to the outside of the body. They are contained in a sac.

Normal Anatomy of the Abdominal Organs

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Causes

The cause is not known. It may be due to a mix of genes and the environment.

Risk Factors

Omphalocele happens more in boys.

If you are pregnant, the following factors may increase your risk of having a child with this:

  • Taking certain medicines, such as asthma medicine and antidepressants
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol

Being overweight or obese before pregnancy also raises the risk.

Symptoms

An omphalocele will be seen around the belly button.

Diagnosis

Omphalocele may be suspected during a fetal ultrasound. After birth, an omphalocele can be found by viewing it.

Treatment

Talk with the doctor about the best plan for your baby. Your baby may need:

Organs can sometimes be harmed. There may also be some problems with digestion. Your baby may need extra care, such as:

  • Dextrose and electrolyte solutions for nutrition and hydration
  • Antibiotics if an infection is present or possible

The goal of surgery is to put the tissue back in place and close the wall. The type of surgery will depend on the degree of the omphalocele.

Large defects may need many surgeries over a longer period of time.

Prevention

If you are pregnant, you can lower your chance of your baby having an omphalocele if you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.
  • Quit smoking before and during pregnancy.
  • Avoid alcohol during pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about replacing or stopping certain medicines that may raise your risk.