Polyhydramnios

Topic Overview

Polyhydramnios is a condition in which there is too much fluid in the amniotic sac, the sac that holds the developing baby (fetus). This liquid is called amniotic fluid, and it surrounds the fetus throughout pregnancy.

In many cases, the cause of polyhydramnios may not be found.

But causes may include:

  • Problems with the baby's nervous system or gastrointestinal tract.
  • Genetic disorders or birth defects.
  • Multiple pregnancy (twins or more).
  • Diabetes in the mother. This includes diabetes that occurs during pregnancy (gestational diabetes).

Polyhydramnios increases the risk of:

  • Premature breaking (rupture) of the amniotic sac.
  • Preterm labour.
  • Stillbirth.

In most cases, treatment is not needed. Sometimes the problem gets better over time.

If it is causing problems for you or your baby, you may need treatment. The type of treatment you get depends on how much amniotic fluid you have. It also depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy and what your symptoms are.

Your doctor may use a needle to remove extra fluid from the amniotic sac. Or you may be given medicine to help reduce the amount of fluid.

Your doctor might do extra tests, like an ultrasound of your baby. Your doctor may also monitor your pregnancy more often than usual.

Depending on your health and the health of your baby, your doctor may recommend having your baby early.

Credits

Current as of: May 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Thomas M. Bailey MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
William Gilbert MD - Maternal and Fetal Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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