Gastroschisis, a congenital defect of the abdominal wall, manifests as external herniation of viscera, most commonly the fetal bowel. The worldwide prevalence of gastroschisis continues to rise, and this increase can also be seen in California with an overall birth prevalence of 2-3 per 10,000 births. While the etiology and pathogenesis of gastroschisis remains unknown, previous studies indicate several risk factors including young maternal age, nulliparity, and low maternal body mass index, in addition to environmental factors and exposure, given the increase in global prevalence with a predisposition of cases to occur in clusters, and absence of a genetic link. We sought to examine etiology of gastroschisis and associated epidemiological, environmental, and biological factors by; 1) determining prevalence of gastroschisis in the Inland counties of Southern California over time; 2) assessing geospatial patterns with overlays of various environmental factors; and 3) comparing cell migration rates from biological samples in gastroschisis versus control pregnancies. We found increased maternal age and parity over time in those carrying a baby affected by gastroschisis and observed clustering of cases in the Inland Empire region. There were no significant differences in cell migration rates. Results identified changing prenatal characteristics and potential relationships with environmental hazards, which future studies will continue investigating. Continued research can aid in improved prenatal diagnosis and better clinical outcomes for the mother and baby.

LLU Discipline



Basic Sciences


School of Medicine

First Advisor

Oshiro, Bryan T.

Second Advisor

Dunbar, Stephen G.

Third Advisor

Goyal, Ravi

Fourth Advisor

Hayes, William K.

Fifth Advisor

Oberg, Kerby C.

Sixth Advisor

Shaw, Gary M.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Fetal Diseases; Fetus -- Physiology; Epidemiology; Perinatology;

Subject - Local

Gastroschisis; Birth Defects;



Page Count


Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives