The causes of omphaloceles are unknown. Nor is it known whether the mother has done anything during pregnancy to lead to her baby’s omphalocele. However, recently researchers at the Centers for Disease Control Prevention found that pregnant women who consume alcohol, are heavy smokers, take antidepressant medications called selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and were overweight or obese before pregnancy are more likely to have babies with an omphalocele.
Between 25 and 40 percent of babies born with an omphalocele have other birth defects as well. These may include genetic problems such as chromosomal abnormalities, heart defects or a congenital diaphragmatic hernia.