According to the CDC, cases of a rare birth defect, which causes internal organs to come out from the hole in the belly of the baby, have increased to 30 percent in the last couple of years.
In a post written by a woman named Brooke, whose last name was not given, and posted on the CDC website, she wasn’t able to hold her newborn daughter against her, or feel the infant’s tiny chest rise and fall as she issued her first, wail. She was only able to have a glimpse of her baby named Anna before she (her baby) was taken away into surgery.
What Brooke saw was disturbing, according to Post-Gazette—her baby’s intestines protruded outside her body. The protruded intestine would take a major surgery as well as some weeks in the intensive care unit before her internal organs where they should be in the first place, and Anna could finally come home.
Anna’s condition is described as gastroschisis, which is a rare defect that the Center for Disease Control said has become even more common in the last couple of years, especially with young African-American moms.
According to a report published on Friday, per the Post-Gazette, the public health agency said it found 30 percent more cases of the disease between 2006 and 2012 than it did from 1995 to 2005.
Babies born with gastroschisis have risen to 263 percent among African-American moms younger than 20, which is alarming.
“It concerns us that we don’t know why more babies are being born with this serious birth defect. Public health research is urgently needed to figure out the cause and why certain women are at higher risk of having a baby born with gastroschisis,” Coleen Boyle, director of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, said in a statement.
About 2,000 babies in the United States are born each year with the disease, according to the CDC report.
Gastroschisis is not a new disease to doctors, even though no one knows the exact cause why babies are born with their intestines and other visceral organs—stomach, liver—protruding through a small hole near the belly button. The CDC observed that the disease is more common to babies in younger moms, and those of low socio-economic status, low body mass index, poor nutrition, smoking and use of alcohol, illicit drugs and pain medicine are just some of the risk factors.
“Anecdotally, over the years, most neonatologists would agree we’ve seen a steady persistent increase in the number of babies we see each year with gastroschisis,” James Greenberg, co-director of the Perinatal Institute and director of neonatology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, told CBS News.
Though, gastroschisis can be corrected through surgery, especially if doctors are aware of it before the birth of the child; they however, warn that it could lead to long-term health problems and sometimes life-threatening complications.