Polyhydramnios: What is it?
The amniotic fluid surrounding the foetus is vital for his/her adequate development and progress. It provides a cushioning effect for the foetus against physical trauma. It also acts as a lubricant during the baby’s movements ensuring good development of bone structure. Normal amniotic fluid range varies from woman to woman. The volume usually rises as the pregnancy progresses, peaking at 800-1000 mL at about 9 months or just before delivery. An abnormally high level of amniotic fluid is when the AFI is greater than 25 cm. The high level condition is known as polyhydramnios.
What Are The Polyhydramnios Symptoms?
If during pregnancy you notice that your belly is suddenly increasing in size very quickly, get in touch with your doctor immediately. This might be the very first sign that you have contracted polyhydramnios as the sudden increase in size might be due to an influx in the amniotic fluid volume.
What Problems Can Polyhydramnios Cause?
Something you should understand is that being detected with polyhydramnios increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and labour. The later polyhydramnios occurs in the gestation period, the less dangerous it is. Developing polyhydramnios in the early stages of pregnancy can be highly alarming.
How Do You Know If You Have Polyhydramnios?
Your doctor will probably run an AFI test. If the AFI test results are greater than 25 cm then you have been diagnosed with polyhydramnios.
- The exact causes of polyhydramnios are not yet known. However, there are a couple of conditions that can increase the likelihood of polyhydramnios.
- Diabetes takes the top spot for the condition that can aggravate the problem of polyhydramnios.
- The probability is also increased if the mother is going to have twin pregnancy. Owing to Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, one foetus might get an increased blood supply than the other. This can lead to an influx in the amount of fluid.
- A mismatch between the mother’s blood and the baby’s blood known as Rh incompatibility is another likely reason for polyhydramnios.
Does Polyhydramnios Affect Your Baby?
Due to an increased amount of fluid, the baby can sometimes realign itself into a non-conventional birthing position. Instead of assuming the usual head down, ready-to-be-born position, polyhydramnios pregnancies have increased risks for transverse positions births. If you had previous plans of stay at home birth, then reconsider them. With polyhydramnios, it might be safer to go for a C-Section.
What Are The Best Ways To Cope With Polyhydramnios?
Mild polyhydramnios may sometimes not even require any treatment and go away on its own. This is especially true for women whose polyhydramnios is border-line. More severe conditions might involve treatment, such as draining the excess amniotic fluid.
Must Watch: What Is Polyhydramnios And How It Is Managed?
Can The Extra Fluid Be Drained?
One possible treatment is reductive amniocentesis where the fluid is removed by inserting a needle. This procedure has made prolonged pregnancy much safer for many patients who have been severely affected by polyhydramnios. Amniotic fluid levels might be returned to normal. However, if polyhydramnios was developed during early stages, the process would need to be repeated after a regular period. Reductive amniocentesis can decrease the probability of preterm labour placental abruption. However, it is greatly dependent upon the skill of the physician. Care should be taken that not a lot of fluid is removed as placental abruption may occur otherwise. Other perils of reductive amniocentesis are infection, bleeding, and trauma to the foetus. Despite these risks, it is still the most effective treatment available for woman suffering from polyhydramnios.
What Can Happen When It Comes To The Birth?
Polyhydramnios increases the risk of preterm labour and premature membrane rupture The increased volume of fluid exercises more pressure on the membranes which might snap prematurely due to it.
Is Polyhydramnios Common?
Polyhydramnios occurs in about only one percent of pregnancies. Despite sounding horrific, the mortality rate from polyhydramnios is very low. Majority cases of polyhydramnios are not very threatening. Most are caused by a gradual build-up of amniotic fluid during the second half of gestation period.
Labour itself can be a complicated process with polyhydramnios. It is all the more reason to opt for a hospital birth. The umbilical cord could be pushed out of the mother before the baby who can be very dangerous. It is extremely important to have supervision.
The risk for placental abruption is also increased. It refers to the condition in which the placenta is separate before the baby is born. It causes an increase in the risk of postpartum haemorrhage which is the increased probability of bleeding post-delivery.
If you’re diagnosed with polyhydramnios, your doctor or physician will keep you under close observation during the entire course of pregnancy to foresee any complications and prevent them. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition and varies from person to person. Every woman and her baby will react differently to a treatment method.
 Carlson DE, Platt LD, Medearis AC, Horenstein J. Quantifiable polyhydramnios: diagnosis and management. Obstet Gynecol 1990