More Babies Are Being Born with Intestines Outside the Body. Is the Condition Linked to Mom's Opioid Use?

LiveScience.com - 01-19

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Rates of a serious birth defect are on the rise in the United States, and a new report suggests the condition may be linked to opioid use. The report, published Jan. 17 by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, looks at cases of gastroschisis, a birth defect in which a baby is born with his or her intestines outside the body, due to a hole in the abdominal wall. Surgery is required to place the intestines back in the body and to repair the hole, but even after this treatment, infants may have problems with digestion, eating and food absorption, according to the CDC. The cause of the condition is usually unknown, but mothers younger than 20 are thought to be at higher risk than older mothers.