So at my last appointment they told me I had this, they said it could cause pre-term labor. They did not tell me the other complications it could mean or could cause. Oh good hell!
Polyhydramnios: Too Much Amniotic Fluid
When a woman has polyhydramnios, the level of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is too high. To understand how this can affect your health and the health of your baby, it's helpful to first understand the role amniotic fluid plays in a healthy pregnancy.
What You Need to Know About Amniotic Fluid
The amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby plays an important role in your baby's growth and development. This clear-colored liquid protects the baby and provides it with fluids. Your baby breathes this fluid into its lungs and swallows it. This helps your baby's lungs and digestive system grow strong. Your amniotic fluid also allows the baby to move around, which helps it to develop its muscles and bones.
The amniotic sac that contains your baby begins to form about 12 days after conception. Amniotic fluid begins to form at that time, too. In the early weeks of pregnancy, amniotic fluid is mainly made up of water supplied by the mother. After about 12 weeks, your baby's urine makes up most of the fluid.
The amount of amniotic fluid increases until about 28-32 weeks of pregnancy. At that time you have about 1 quart of fluid. After that time, the level stays about the same until about 37-40 weeks, when your baby is considered full-term. After that, the level begins to decrease.
What You Need to Know About Polyhydramnios
Polyhydramnios (too much amniotic fluid) occurs in about 2 out of 100 of pregnancies. Most cases are mild and result from a slow buildup of excess fluid in the second half of pregnancy. But in a few cases, fluid builds up as early as the 16th week of pregnancy. This usually leads to very early delivery.
Polyhydramnios is diagnosed with ultrasound. Medical experts do not fully understand what causes this condition. In 2 out 3 cases, the cause is not known. Here are two of the best-known causes:
Birth defects in the baby that affect the ability to swallow. Normally, when the fetus swallows, the level of amniotic fluid goes down a bit. This helps to balance out the increase in fluid caused by fetal urination.
Heart defects in the baby.
Women with diabetes are at increased risk for polyhydramnios. But they have fewer complications from polyhydramnios than women without diabetes.
Women with mild polyhydramnios may have few symptoms. Women with more severe cases may have discomfort in the belly and breathing problems. That's because the buildup of fluids causes the uterus to crowd the lungs and the organs in the belly.
Preterm rupture of the membranes (breaks or tears in the sac that holds the amniotic fluid; also called PROM)
Umbilical cord accidents
Polyhydramnios may also raise the risk of pregnancy complications, including:
Placental abruption (the placenta peels away from the uterine wall before delivery)
Poor growth of the fetus
Severe bleeding by the mother after delivery
What You Can Do
The best thing you can do is to go to all your prenatal care appointments. Your health care provider can monitor the size of your belly and how much amniotic fluid is in your womb. If you have a problem, your provider can take steps to help prevent complications in you and your baby.
If you have diabetes, talk to your health care provider about your increased risk of polyhydramnios.
If your health care provider thinks you might have polyhydraminos, you will probably need extra monitoring during your pregnancy. About half the time, polyhydramnios goes away without treatment. Other times, the problem may be corrected when the cause is addressed. For example, treating high blood sugar levels in women with diabetes often lowers the amount of amniotic fluid. Other treatments include removing some amniotic fluid or using medication to reduce fluid levels.