Hydrops fetalis is a serious condition of the fetus or newborn. It is a condition where abnormal amounts of fluid build up in two or more body areas causing swelling. Severe swelling can interfere with how the body organs work and often results in death of the infant shortly before or after delivery.
Review Date 5/24/2021
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.