Hydrops is severe swelling in the body tissues of a fetus or infant.
Hydrops is severe swelling in the body tissues of a fetus (unborn child) or infant (birth to 1 year*). The condition develops when too much fluid moves from the baby’s bloodstream into the tissues. Hydrops can cause a fetus or baby’s organs to shut down, and it can be fatal.
The most common places for the fluid to build up is in tissues around the lungs, heart, or abdomen (ascites), and under the skin (edema).
There are two types of hydrops:
Immune — If mother and baby do not have the same blood type, the mother’s immune system may begin to break down the red blood cells of the fetus during pregnancy, causing swelling.