What is Polyhydramnios?


Polyhydramnios is the overweening aggregation of amniotic fluid. This is the fluid which surrounds the baby in the uterus. Polyhydramnios occurrence is not common. Most polyhydramnios cases tend to be mild, and it results from a step by step build up of amniotic fluid in the 2nd half of pregnancy. If polyhydramnios turns severe, it may cause preterm labour.

If a woman is diagnosed with polyhydramnios, the doctor carefully monitors the patient to prevent all the complications. The cure totally depends on the condition’s severity. If polyhydramnios is mild, it generally goes away on its own. However, severe form of polyhydramnios may require treatment.

 Diagnosis of polyhydramnios

In general, Ultrasound scans are performed to figure out polyhydramnios. The sonographer tends to value the amount of fluid in 4 regions around the body to figure out the amniotic fluid index. This tends to be in the range of four inches to ten inches during the 3rd trimester. An amniotic fluid index more than ten centimetres suggest that a woman has polyhydramnios. At times, a scan may also show the cause for the condition, such as whether it is a pregnancy complication or because of multiple pregnancies.

Check here for more details on diagnostic tests.

 Causes of polyhydramnios

Polyhydramnios is generally associated with reasons, such as –

The mother experiencing diabetes, along with gestational diabetes. If it is because of diabetes, then the baby tends to be larger.

  • An obstruction in the part of the gut of the baby that stops them absorbs the normal amount of amniotic fluid. At times, gut atresia needs an operation following the birth of the baby.
  • Mother carrying twins.
  • Mother experiencing rhesus disease.
  • The development of the blood vessels on placenta.
  • A genetic problem with the fetus.

Around fifty percent instances are idiopathic. Experts are still in an attempt to figure out causes behind Polyhydramnios. Some known risk factors and causes include – deficiency of red blood cells in the baby; fetal anomalies like fatal kidney problems, tracheoesophageal fistula, anencephaly, duodenal atresia, diaphragmatic hernia, skeletal dysplasias, hydrocephaly, spina bifida or esophageal atresia which could shackle the baby’s ability of processing the amniotic fluid in a proper way and fetal macrosomia.

 Symptoms of polyhydramnios

According to Pregmed, mild polyhydramnios cases may give birth to symptoms like –

  • Facing difficulty in breathing unless sitting or standing in upright posture.
  • Decreased urine production.
  • Trouble in climbing stairs.
  • Excessive weight gain.
  • Swelling of the legs, vulva and the abdominal wall.

Polyhydramnios may be suspected by the doctor in case it seems difficult to measure the body contours as well as heart beat of the baby in spite of an enlarged uterus. Excessive amniotic fluid inside the uterus worsens some pregnancy symptoms like –

  • Heartburn.
  • Constipation.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Constipation.
  • Stretch marks.
  • Indigestion.

  Treatment of polyhydramnios

Treatment is only required for the mother if acute polyhydramnios symptoms are present. If the mother experiences severe abdominal pain, shortness of breath or preterm labor, an early hospitalization is must. The treatment process could be same what is used for dealing with twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Doctors often recommend an oral medication named Indocin. In some instances, the doctor gives some medicines to steady the heart rate of the baby.