Omphalocele is a congenital birth defect in which the intestines or other abdominal organs stick out of the baby’s navel, and is considered a type of hernia.  Babies born with omphalocele are at a dramatically increased risk for intestinal infection,[1] and “death of intestinal tissue,”[2] both of which are very serious medical conditions that may also lead to other debilitating health issues.

PubMed Health, a prominent online medical encyclopedia provided by the United States National Library of Medicine, states that “There are different sizes of omphaloceles.  In small ones, only the intestines stick out.  In larger ones, the liver or spleen may stick out of the body as well.”[3]

Zoloft Lawyer SSRI Birth Defect Lawsuit SSRI Attorney - Omphalocele

Treatment for Omphalocele

Treatment for omphalocele requires surgery, but that surgery is not necessarily performed immediately after birth.[4]  “A sac protects the abdominal contents and allows time for other more serious problems (such as heart defects) to be dealt with first, if necessary.

To fix an omphalocele, the sac is covered with a special man-made material, which is then stitched in place. Slowly, over time, the abdominal contents are pushed into the abdomen.

When the omphalocele can comfortably fit within the abdominal cavity, the man-made material is removed and the abdomen is closed.

Sometimes the omphalocele is so large that it cannot be placed back inside the infant’s abdomen. The skin around the omphalocele grows and eventually covers the omphalocele. The abdominal muscles and skin can be repaired when the child is older to achieve a better cosmetic outcome.”[5]


Omphalocele Linked to Maternal SSRI Use

A study published in a 2007 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine has shown that maternal use of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant drugs during pregnancy dramatically increase the risk for a child being born with omphalocele.  Specifically, Zoloft® (sertraline) use during pregnancy was found to make children 5.7 times more likely to be born with omphalocele than children born to mothers who did not use Zoloft® during pregnancy.[6]  For more on the specifics of this study, you may find the original research linking Zoloft® and omphalocele here.


Prognosis for Omphalocele

Fortunately, a full recovery from omphalocele is expected after surgery.[7] “However, omphaloceles often occur with other birth defects. How well a child does depends on which other conditions the child also has.

If the omphalocele is identified before birth, the mother should be closely monitored to make sure the unborn baby remains healthy. Plans should be made for careful delivery and immediate management of the problem after birth. The baby should be delivered in a medical center that is skilled at repairing omphaloceles. The baby’s outcome is improved if he or she does not need to be taken to another center for further treatment.

Parents should consider screening their unborn baby for other genetic problems that are associated with this condition.”[8]


Filing a Zoloft® Lawsuit for Omphalocele

Due to the fact that the manufacturer of Zoloft® failed to warn users of its product’s influence on the risk of omphalocele, it may be held liable for injuries its product caused.  If you used Zoloft® during pregnancy and your child was born with omphalocele or another birth defect, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free, no-obligation case consultation.

At your convenience, you may contact our offices by phone at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at  We have the experience, resources, and skills required to go up against even the largest of pharmaceutical companies and win the justice you and your family deserve.  We are here to help you every step of the way.

[1] Omphalocele – PubMed Health” U.S. National Library of Medicine © 2011 A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia  available at <> accessed 1 February 2013

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Louik, C. et al. (2007) “First-Trimester Use of Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and the Risk of Birth Defects” The New England Journal of Medicine Vol. 356, No. 26. p. 2675-2683

[7] Omphalocele – PubMed Health” U.S. National Library of Medicine © 2011 A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia  available at <> accessed 1 February 2013

[8] Ibid.