What is Gastroschisis?

Gastroschisis is a condition in which a baby has a small hole in front of their abdomen, just to the side of the umbilical cord. This hole allows some of the bowel to escape and develop outside of the body.

Why does it happen?

We do not know the exact cause of gastroschisis. It is unlikely to be linked to anything you may have or have not done.

How does this affect my baby and pregnancy?

Initially you will be able to discuss your scan findings with the Fetal Medicine Midwife or an appropriately trained professional.

You will be referred to the Fetal Medicine Clinic where you will be given an appointment to see the Consultant Obstetrician who will perform a further scan and discuss with you the condition and answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Gastroschisis is often associated with the baby being small. Another risk is premature labour (labour starting before 37 weeks of pregnancy).

For this reason, regular scans are performed to assess the growth of your baby, the amount of fluid and blood flow from the placenta to your baby.

Later in the pregnancy we will advise weekly monitoring of your baby’s heart, this is performed in the Day Assessment Unit.

Nine out of ten babies with Gastroschisis will do well and live normal lives.

Baby with Gastroschisis


When and where will my baby be born?

When you are seen in the Fetal Medicine Clinic, you will be referred to the University Hospital of Wales based in Cardiff. Throughout your pregnancy you will receive shared care between the Royal Gwent and UHW.

After delivery, baby will need an operation to correct the Gastroschisis therefore you will deliver in Cardiff where there is a paediatric surgical unit.

There is no advantage of having a Caesarean Delivery for uncomplicated Gastroschisis and vaginal delivery is desirable, but this can be discussed in more detail with your Consultant. Induction of Labour will be considered usually around 38 weeks of pregnancy.

During pregnancy you will have the opportunity to see the Paediatric Surgeon and the Neonatal team who are responsible for your baby’s surgery, recovery and aftercare.

The team will talk to you about the condition, possible complications, treatment and how to prepare for the birth of your baby.


Understandably this is a stressful and difficult time for you.

You will be offered as much support as possible and if you have any unanswered questions please contact the local Fetal Medicine Midwives.

Contact Numbers

Royal Gwent Hospital 01633 234747

Nevill Hall Hospital 01873 732390 or 01873 732391

Cardiff Fetal Medicine Unit 02920 742279

Useful Websites

ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices) - Offer information and support to parents who are making decisions before, during and after tests in pregnancy

Tel no: 084507722990


Email: info@arc-uk-org

ASW (Antenatal Screening Wales)


GEEPS (Gastroschisis Exomphalos Exstrophies Parental Support Group)


Facebook Group link.

Improving the physical and emotional health and wellbeing of expectant mothers, infants, children and young people throughout Aneurin Bevan University Health Board Area.

(N.B: The Family and Therapies team at ABUHB is NOT responsible for the content on the webpage links that we refer to in our resource sections and linked information to external sites. All information was accurate and appropriate at the time the webpage was created.)

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