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Fetal anasarca refers to generalized fetal body edema and usually occurs as a component of hydrops fetalis. The fetal subcutaneous tissues appear diffusely thickened often to more than 5 mm.
It occurs from a fluid shift from the intravascular compartment into the interstitial extravascular compartment as a result of impaired lymphatic drainage, capillary permeability, and/or capillary hydrostatic/oncotic pressures.