To investigate perinatal outcomes of fetal echogenic bowel (FEB).


This is a retrospective observational study of FEB cases from Jan 2005–Dec 2010. Data from ultrasound and fetal medicine investigations, uterine artery Doppler (UAD), intra-partum care and neonatal outcome were obtained from Fetal Medicine, Obstetric and Neonatal Databases.


There were 139 cases presenting at 21+5 (15+1–35+5) weeks gestation. Overall, 106/139 (76.2%) were live born (LB), 8/139 (5.8%) were complicated by intra-uterine deaths (IUD), 11/139 (7.9%) had termination of pregnancy (TOP) and 14/139 (10.1%) were lost to follow-up after 28 weeks gestation. Six had chromosomal/genetic abnormalities, two had congenital cytomegalovirus, none had cystic fibrosis.Uterine artery Doppler was normal in 106/130 (81.5%) cases. In this group, there were no cases of fetal growth restriction (FGR), 95/106 (89.6%) were LB, 1/106 (0.94%) had an IUD. In the abnormal UAD group, 17/24 (70.1%) developed FGR, 11/24 (45.8%) were LB, 4/24 (16.7%) had TOP, 7/24 (29.2%) had IUD.In total, 20/106 (18.9%) live births were admitted for specialist neonatal care, 12/20 (60%) for prematurity. Only one had primary bowel pathology.


Pregnancies with FEB and screen positive UAD are at risk of adverse perinatal outcome. Primary bowel pathology is rare following the finding of FEB. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.