Children's Hospital Colorado
Colorado Fetal Care Center

Bladder Outlet Obstruction

We see more, treat more and heal more kids than any other hospital in the region.

U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll 2021-2 Badge

Get Care

Would you like to learn more about us?
Colorado Fetal Care Center
Do you have questions about this condition?
Want a second opinion?
Get started

What is a bladder outlet obstruction?

Bladder outlet obstruction, also known as a lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO), is a fetal condition where urine is unable to pass from an unborn baby's bladder to the amniotic sac surrounding it.

What causes bladder outlet obstruction?

The most common cause of bladder outlet obstruction in boys is posterior urethral valves. This condition occurs when a membrane blocks the urethra, the tube that drains the bladder to the amniotic sac. This blockage prevents urine made in the baby's kidneys from draining into the amniotic sac and becoming amniotic fluid, which helps to cushion the baby.

Bladder outlet obstruction in a fetus can impact development in many ways. An obstruction affects the development of the urinary tract, including the bladder and kidneys. Fluid buildup in the bladder can impact lung development, which then puts strain on the heart.

When a baby is not releasing urine, levels of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby drop. This reduces the "cushion" a baby has in the amniotic sac and can delay lung development and limit movement.

Who gets bladder outlet obstruction?

Bladder outlet obstruction occurs in every one of approximately 4,000 births. It is more common in males than in females.

Next steps

Cartoon image of a patient and doctor having a telehealth call.

Keeping you safe, wherever you are

We're here when you need us with the same safe, high-quality care we've always offered, even during the pandemic. Now, in many cases, you can get that care without even leaving home because we offer virtual visits across every one of our specialties.

See if telehealth is right for your child


Get to know our pediatric experts.

Bettina Cuneo, MD

Bettina Cuneo, MD

Cardiology - Pediatric, Pediatrics

Adel Younoszai, MD

Adel Younoszai, MD

Cardiology - Pediatric

Mariana Meyers, MD

Mariana Meyers, MD

Radiology, Radiology - Pediatric

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?

Traci Nivens, MD

Traci Nivens, MD

Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?