Fetal Kidney Problem - Everything You Need To Know

Fetal Kidney Problem

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Are you pregnant and worried about your baby’s health? Has your doctor spoken to you about any particular health concerns in your unborn baby?

Kidney problem is one health complication that your unborn baby may face. Read on to know how you can detect the same and more.

What Are The Types Of Fetal Kidney Problems?

There are mainly three types of fetal renal problems:

1. Polycystic Kidney Disease:

Cysts begin to develop in the unborn baby’s kidneys. As they grow, the cysts can damage the kidney tissues (1).

2. Hydronephrosis:

One of the kidneys of the unborn baby may get swollen. It can lead to the dilation of the funnel-like part of the kidney.

3. Fetal Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney:

In this condition, grape-like cysts begin to develop in the unborn baby’s kidney.

[ Read: Pregnancy Complications ]

What Causes Kidney Problems In Unborn Babies?

Only in rare cases, a baby suffers abnormality in the development of the urinary tract or the kidney before birth (2) . Doctors and researchers are still not sure why this occurs. However, doctors refer to the problems that arise in the development of the urinary tract in the fetus as congenital.

  • Genetic mutations (3) are the main cause of fetal Polycystic kidney disease.
  • Hydronephrosis occurs when a blockage makes the urine return to the kidneys.
  • Fetal multicystic dysplastic kidney occurs when the kidneys do not form properly in the unborn baby.

How To Detect Fetal Kidney Problems During Pregnancy??

Your unborn baby’s kidneys start developing from the first month itself. Kidneys produce urine to maintain electrolyte and fluid levels in the body. Problems in the kidneys can create various health complications in later life .

  • When you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe various prenatal checkups and examinations. Ultrasound is one such routine test. Performing an ultrasound helps your doctor examine your baby even before birth. He can look for any anomalies in the urinary tract of your developing baby. Based on this, your doctor can determine whether or not your baby needs any treatment. In many cases, these anomalies have no impact on the unborn baby’s health and development.
  • The procedure of amniocentesis can diagnose Polycystic kidney disease (4). The doctor will remove a sample of the amniotic fluid from your womb during the test. Your doctor may also use a procedure known as chorionic villus sampling (5). During the procedure, the doctor will remove a small piece of your placenta to test it for various genetic defects.
  • A regular prenatal ultrasound can detect Hydronephrosis. By the 14thor 15th week, a doctor can see a fetus’s kidneys while performing a sonography . By the 20th week, the internal structures of the fetus’s kidneys will also be visible during the test.
  • A prenatal sonography can diagnose Fetal multicystic dysplastic kidney.

[ Read: 4d Ultrasound Scan In Pregnancy ]

How To Treat Kidney Problems In Unborn Babies?

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for fetal multicystic dysplastic kidney disease and polycystic kidney disease in unborn babies. However, doctors may recommend the following:

  • For Polycystic Kidney Disease: The doctor will most likely recommend medicines that will help keep the blood pressure under control. Sometimes, polycystic kidney disease can also cause urinary tract infections. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat it. If there is a kidney failure due to this condition, doctors may recommend a kidney transplant or dialysis.
  • For Hydronephrosis: The doctor will try and remove or clear the obstruction that is making the urine return to the kidneys.
  • For Fetal Multicystic Dysplastic Kidney: The doctor will monitor the progression of the condition through prenatal ultrasound.

[ Read: How To Deal With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome ]

The effect of kidney problems in unborn babies depends on the type and severity of the condition. If your doctor mentions that your baby is suffering from kidney issues during your pregnancy, do talk about various treatment options and care methods.

If your baby suffered from a congenital renal condition, please share your experience and advice here.

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