CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library




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

nucleus fact sheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

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

Risk Factors    TOP

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    TOP

An omphalocele will be seen around the belly button.

Diagnosis    TOP

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

Treatment    TOP

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    TOP

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.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


March of Dimes Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada


Facts about omphalocele. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated November 17, 2015. Accessed July 2, 2018.
Omphalocele. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated June 7, 2017. Accessed July 2, 2018.
Omphalocele. PEMSoft at EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed July 2, 2018.
Last reviewed June 2018 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 7/2/2018

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000