FAQs About Polyhydramnios

Table of Contents

Is having too much amniotic fluid bad?

Having too much amniotic fluid can make for a very uncomfortable pregnancy, and higher than normal levels are directly related to increased risks of delivery complications. In very severe cases it may also affect maternal breathing to the point that intervention is required. An amnioreduction can provide temporary relief in these cases. Read more about the risks of having too much amniotic fluid here.

Is Polyhydramnios serious?

Polyhydramnios is associated with a high risk of poor pregnancy outcomes. In general, the more severe the case, the higher the risk of poor outcomes. However, it’s common for mild cases to result in uncomplicated deliveries of healthy babies. Read about the risks of Polyhydramnios here.

Should I be worried about Polyhydramnios?

Being diagnosed with Polyhydramnios can be very worrisome for a lot of women. But knowledge is power! Understanding the risks involved and creating a carefully laid out plan for the management of your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum can help you to feel more in control. You can also join a support group to help you through this difficult time. Check out our list of support groups right here, and download a printable list of questions for your doctor here.

Can Polyhydramnios cause birth defects?

Polyhydramnios is a secondary condition, meaning it is usually caused by another underlying condition. So, in short, no, it does not cause birth defects. It can, however, sometimes be the result of a birth defect in your baby. Read more about the causes of Polyhydramnios.

Can Polyhydramnios cause autism?

Currently, there are no published studies that link autism to Polyhydramnios. However, autism is linked to some syndromes that are known to cause Polyhydramnios. The best people to ask this question to are the ones who have lived it, so why not check out a Polyhydramnios support group and ask about their experience with this? Check out our list of Polyhydramnios support groups here.

What does Polyhydramnios indicate?

Polyhydramnios is usually a symptom of something else. What that something is, however, may not be as easy to identify. Polyhydramnios can be caused by a number of things including metabolic problems in the mother, anomalies or nervous system disorders in the baby, fetal heart conditions, tumors, and even problems with the placenta. Current research also supports the idea that sometimes Polyhydramnios happens spontaneously for no apparent reason.

What is the most common cause of Polyhydramnios?

Polyhydramnios has been associated with several anomalies both in women and infants. At the time of delivery, 61% of Polyhydramnios cases are idiopathic, 18% are attributed to a genetic anomaly, 10% to infection or blood incompatibility, 4% to fetal anemia, 4% to Twin to Twin Transfusion, and 3% to gestational diabetes. Additionally, as many as 1/3 of the babies born from an idiopathic Polyhydramnios pregnancy will be diagnosed with a genetic anomaly before their first birthday. Read more about the causes of Polyhydramnios here.

What are the signs and symptoms of Polyhydramnios?

Polyhydramnios may be suspected if you are measuring large or if your healthcare provider has trouble feeling your baby through your abdomen. Other signs are similar to normal pregnancy symptoms but might be more exaggerated, such as trouble breathing, swelling of the lower extremities, or increased heartburn. An amniotic fluid index greater than 24 cm or a single deepest pool greater than 8 cm indicates Polyhydramnios. Read about other symptoms of Polyhydramnios here.

What is the treatment for Polyhydramnios?

Treatment for Polyhydramnios involves effective management of the symptoms and the underlying causes. Management of the underlying cause varies widely and may include anything from diet changes to in-utero surgery. Some symptoms can be managed by rest, the elevation of swollen limbs, hydration, and sleeping in a propped-up position. If Polyhydramnios is very severe and breathing is impaired, amnioreduction may provide temporary relief. Read more about amnioreduction here.

How do I reduce fluid if I have Polyhydramnios?

In some cases, amniotic fluid may be reduced by managing the underlying condition. For example, a diabetic diet may help reduce fluid in women with high blood sugar levels. Amnioreduction and indomethacin have also been used to reduce amniotic fluid, although these methods are only recommended under extreme circumstances. Some women have also reported a reduction in amniotic fluid after using the herb Nat Mur, however, we recommend you research this product and speak to your healthcare provider before trying it for yourself. Read more on the management of Polyhydramnios here.

What is considered a high level of amniotic fluid?

Too much amniotic fluid is known as Polyhydramnios. It is diagnosed with either a single pocket of amniotic fluid greater than 8 cm or an amniotic fluid index (AFI) greater than 24 cm. The severity of high levels of amniotic fluid is further classified as follows: Mild: SDP >=8 cm or AFI >=24 cm, Moderate: SDP >=12 cm or AFI >=30.1 cm, Severe SDP >16 cm or AFI >35.1 cm. Read more about amniotic fluid and understanding its measurements here.

What happens if I have too much amniotic fluid?

If your AFI is greater than or equal to 24 cm, you will be screened for underlying conditions such as diabetes, infection, or Rh incompatibility. Your baby will also be checked via ultrasound for obvious fetal anomalies. You and your baby will be monitored closely for the duration of your pregnancy and during labor and delivery. It’s important to note that as AFI increases, so do the risks of perinatal mortality and congenital abnormalities. Learn about the proper testing you need after a Polyhydramnios diagnosis here.

Is Polyhydramnios considered high-risk?

Polyhydramnios alone is not always considered high risk, especially when it is mild. However, moderate and severe Polyhydramnios or any cases complicated by other factors like maternal diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with the placenta, carrying multiples, IUGR, or genetic anomalies in the baby should be considered high risk. Click here for a general overview of Polyhydramnios.

Will I deliver early if my baby is measuring big?

Evidence has shown that estimations of fetal weight by both manual palpitation and ultrasound are not precise in diagnosing macrosomia. Further evidence has shown that induction for suspected macrosomia has not improved maternal or fetal outcomes. Therefore, the ACOG and SMFM have both stated that suspected macrosomia is not an indication for induction. You can read about delivery recommendations for Polyhydramnios right here.

Is Polyhydramnios a reason to induce labor?

Induction is common with Polyhydramnios, but may not be necessary in every case. Mild idiopathic cases of polyhydramnios should be allowed to go into spontaneous labor between 40+0 and 40+6 weeks. In cases complicated by an underlying condition, the timing of delivery for that condition should take precedence. In severe cases with known fetal anomalies, early onset of severe cases, or cases involving fetal growth restriction induction at 37 weeks is recommended. For further reading about delivery recommendations, click here.

How common is Polyhydramnios?

Polyhydramnios occurs in approximately 1-2% of all pregnancies worldwide. The average OB in America sees 1-2 mild cases of Poly every year. On the other hand, they may see a severe case only once every six years. You can read more on this and many more statistics about Polyhydramnios here.

Does Polyhydramnios cause excess weight gain?

Polyhydramnios has been associated with increased weight gain. The increase in fluid, combined with a larger than average baby in some cases can lead to extra weight gain during pregnancy. 

Read Next

Support Groups and Social Media Accounts – Do not go through Polyhydramnios alone. This is a growing list of online support groups and helpful social media accounts to follow.

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