Abstract Infants with gastroschisis (GS) commonly require total parenteral nutrition and prolonged hospitalization because of intestinal dysfunction resulting from dysmotility and/or malabsorption. To investigate prepartum small intestinal (SI) nutrient absorption in GS, a fetal rabbit model was surgically created on gestational day 24 (term, 31 to 33 days) in 11 time-mated New Zealand White does in each left ovarian-end fetus. Each right ovarian-end fetus served as a control (C) and was manipulated only. All does, 10 of 11 GS fetuses (91%), and 8 of 11 C fetuses (73%) survived to gestational day 30. GS fetuses had significantly reduced total body weights, SI weights, and SI lengths compared with C fetuses. Using the everted mucosal sleeve technique, the uptakes of an amino acid (proline) and a sugar (glucose) were determined. The uptakes of proline per milligram SI, proline per centimeter SI, and glucose per milligram SI were significantly impaired in GS fetuses compared with C fetuses ( P < .04 by Student's paired t test). The uptake of glucose per centimeter SI was also reduced in GS fetuses, but not significantly. Uptake capacities (a measure of the entire SI's ability to absorb a given nutrient) were significantly reduced in GS fetuses compared with C fetuses (proline, 2,670 ± 612 nmol/min/entire SI v 6,842 ± 399 nmol/min/entire SI, P < .008 by Student's paired t test; glucose, 402 ± 69 nmol/min/entire SI v 950 ± 103, P < .008 by Student's paired t test).