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Polyhydramnios: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnoses, Treatment, and Complications

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The liquid that surrounds your developing fetus in the uterus is called amniotic fluid. Although it can happen as early as 16 weeks into pregnancy, polyhydramnios often occurs in the second half of pregnancy. About 1% of pregnancies are affected by this uncommon illness.

Doctors might have used this term to describe diagnoses and you are pretty confused about it. We are here to help you understand what polyhydramnios causes are, how you can identify the condition, and more.

Keep reading!

So, What is Polyhydramnios?

When you have polyhydramnios during pregnancy, it means your uterus contains an excessive amount of amniotic fluid.There may be no signs or issues when polyhydramnios is moderate. In severe cases, therapy may be suggested.

How Do You Know If You Have Polyhydramnios: Check Out These Polyhydramnios Symptoms

Pressure on the uterus and adjacent organs usually cause the symptoms of polyhydramnios.  There may be few, if any, signs or symptoms of mild polyhydramnios. Extreme polyhydramnios causes

  • Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the abdominal wall and lower extremiti
  • Contractions or discomfort in the womb
  • Misplacement of the fetus such as a breech birth
  • Heartburn
  • Having trouble pooping (constipation)
  • Peeing more frequently

If your uterus is abnormally swollen and you have problems feeling the baby, your doctor may also diagnose you with polyhydramnios.

How Do Doctors Diagnose Polyhydramnios?

Your lungs, stomach, rectum, and bladder are among the neighboring organs that are put under strain while your uterus grows larger during pregnancy. Polyhydramnios symptoms are often brought on by this additional pressure.

Your obstetrician will suspect you have too much amniotic fluid if

  • Your uterus is larger than how it should be according to your gestational age
  • It’s difficult to locate a fetal heartbeat
  • They are unable to feel where the fetus is within your uterus

The majority of the time, especially in mild cases, polyhydramnios has no known cause. However, there are several potential causes of moderate to severe polyhydramnios, such as the following:

  • Due to a congenital condition, the fetus is unable to ingest amniotic fluid.
  • High amounts of blood sugar (caused by diabetes before or after becoming pregnant).
  • Carrying identical twins who have the twin-to-twin transfusion (TTTS).
  • You have a different Rh factor than the fetus (you are Rh-negative).
  • The fetal heart rate being affected negatively.
  • The unborn child is infected.

Treating Polyhydramnios Causes

To check if your uterus is too big, your health care provider will measure your abdomen (also known as the fundal height). That usually indicates whether you are measuring two or more weeks before your anticipated due date.

To determine how much amniotic fluid is in your uterus, they’ll take an ultrasound. Amniotic fluid index (AFI) and maximal vertical pocket (MPV) are two methods for doing this. AFI measures the depth of the fluid in four different places in your uterus.

To determine the amount of fluid in your uterus, MPV simply measures the deepest part of it. Your doctor will probably prescribe additional tests to look for congenital abnormalities, diabetes, or other diseases if one of these tests reveals you have polyhydramnios.

One or more of these tests might be:

  • Fetal echocardiography, a more powerful ultrasound test that can detect the fetus’s heart and blood vessels.
  • Stress-free test checks for uneven fetal heart rate.
  • Checks the fetus’s movement, tone, and breathing patterns via a biophysical profile.
  • Amniocentesis diagnoses some congenital diseases.
  • Glucose challenge test that checks for gestational diabetes.

If you have moderate The best course of action is often to regularly monitor your pregnancy. This also entails managing the underlying illness (such as diabetes) which could be a secret polyhydramnios cause. Other therapy choices include of:

  • The removal of extra amniotic fluid.
  • Bringing on labor earlier, usually between 37 and 39 weeks.

Is Polyhydramnios a Scary Condition?

Pregnancy issues might result from having too much amniotic fluid in your uterus because it exerts pressure on your neighboring organs. In early  pregnancy, when there is more time for amniotic fluid to continue to accumulate, the condition is typically more severe. Also, t he extra fluid itself poses no threat to the developing fetus.

Additional side effects of excessive amniotic fluid include:

The risk of problems increases with the onset of polyhydramnios earlier in the pregnancy and the amount of extra amniotic fluid present.

The Bottom Line

Polyhydramnios is not something you can avoid. Managing your blood sugar levels is one precaution you may take if you have gestational diabetes or had diabetes prior to becoming pregnant.

Having polyhydramnios shouldn’t significantly change how you give birth. To make sure your kid isn’t under too much stress, their heartbeat will be monitored throughout delivery. As you give birth, you might also pass a lot of amniotic fluid. Your kid will be examined by a pediatrician soon after birth to ensure their wellness.

If your doctor decides a vaginal delivery is too dangerous, you might require a cesarean surgery (C-section). The likelihood of a C-section is just marginally enhanced with polyhydramnios.

Polyhydramnios: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnoses, Treatment, and Complications - FAQs

1. What happens if you have polyhydramnios?

Approximately 1 to 2 percent of pregnancies result in polyhydramnios. The majority of mild cases of polyhydramnios are brought on by a slow accumulation of amniotic fluid in the second part of pregnancy. Breathing difficulties, preterm labor, and other signs and symptoms of severe polyhydramnios are possible.

2. Does polyhydramnios mean birth defects?

Although polyhydramnios can occur by itself (i.e., no other birth defect or condition coexists with it), it is more prevalent when the unborn child has certain congenital defects, such as duodenal atresia, or a heart or lung issue (such as hydrops fetalis).

3. Does polyhydramnios mean big baby?

Polyhydramnios is basically an excessive amount of amniotic fluid, which surrounds and shields the developing embryo. So, yes polyhydramnios may indicate that your baby is bigger than usual.

4. Can drinking water increase amniotic fluid?

Water consumption can be very important at any point throughout pregnancy.Hydration is crucial for increasing amniotic fluid levels in pregnant women between 37 and 41 weeks, claims one study.

5. Do you need to rest with polyhydramnios?

If you work and have polyhydramnios, you should consider starting your maternity leave early. Get lots of rest. Discuss your birth plan with your doctor or midwife, including what to do if your waters break or labor begins sooner than expected.

Sources :

On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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