Abdominal distention developing in an infant before the time of delivery challenges the knowledge and skill of the obstetrician who must deliver the distorted infant. After birth of the infant, the pediatrician, radiologist, and surgeons must diagnose and manage the underlying condition. The problems of diagnosis and management in the newborn infant are discussed in a recent issue of the American Journal of Diseases of Children.1 Solid or cystic tumors, distention of a hollow viscus, or accumulation of peritoneal fluid may cause the abdominal distention. All tumors are rare: renal, hepatic, and ovarian cysts are more common than others. The small intestine may be distended in meconium ileus, the urinary bladder or renal pelvis in obstructive uropathy, or the uterus and vagina in hydrometrocolpos. Chylous ascites is less common than the ascites associated with meconium peritonitis or that associated with urinary-tract obstruction.
If distention causes severe dystocia, the fetal