What is pelvic kidney?

Pelvic kidney is a condition in which one or both kidneys do not move into their proper position while a baby is developing during pregnancy. When babies grow and develop during pregnancy, the kidneys start out in the pelvis. Over time, the kidneys move up into their proper position behind the ribcage. Pelvic kidneys are typically unilateral (affect one kidney), or, in rare cases, bilateral (affects both kidneys).

In the body, the kidneys help filter waste products and make urine. About one out of every 1 in 2,500 babies are born with pelvic kidney.

What causes pelvic kidney?

Doctors do not know what causes a pelvic kidney, but it is usually an isolated event that can occur as an interruption of normal fetal development. Pelvic kidneys can occasional be a part of a larger genetic syndrome if other associated conditions are noted on ultrasound. We do know that it is not caused by anything the parents did or did not do. Pelvic kidneys are not anyone’s fault, and it cannot be prevented before or during pregnancy.

Rev. 9/2021. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.