Potential complications of urine blockage before and after birth
When a defect in the urinary tract blocks the flow of urine, the urine backs up and causes the ureters and kidneys to swell, called hydroureter and hydronephrosis.
Hydronephrosis is the most common problem found during prenatal ultrasound of a baby in the womb. The swelling may be easy to see or barely detectable. The results of hydronephrosis may be mild or severe, but the level of swelling does not always indicate a long-term impact on the child’s health.
Urine blockage may damage the developing kidneys and reduce their ability to filter. In the most severe cases of urine blockage, where little or no urine leaves the baby’s bladder, the amount of amniotic fluid is reduced to the point that the baby’s lung development is threatened.
After birth, urine blockage may raise a child’s risk of developing a UTI. Recurring UTIs can lead to more permanent kidney damage.