Body-stalk anomaly is a rare abdominal wall defect in which the abdominal organs develop outside of a baby's abdominal cavity and remain attached directly to the placenta. This condition is also accompanied by a short or non-existent umbilical cord. Due to the severity of the defects, this condition is almost always fatal for the fetus.
What causes body-stalk anomaly?
While the cause of body-stalk anomaly is unknown, theories include early rupture of the amnion (the sac encasing the fetus) along with amniotic band constriction due to that rupture. Disruption of the embryo's vascular system or an abnormality in the fertilized egg are also potential causes.
Body-stalk anomaly has been associated with cocaine usage and younger mothers but is mostly considered to occur randomly. It is not believed to run in families, meaning that there likely is not a genetic cause. Because it is believed to occur randomly, no future pregnancies should be affected by this anomaly.