Polyhydramnios (prenatal period)

Polyhydramnios is a term used to signify that there is an excess amount of amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac. Amniotic fluid is important to the health and development of the fetus. The fetus regulates the amount of the amniotic fluid by swallowing the fluid, passing it through the kidneys, and excreting it as urine.

What are the Symptoms of Polyhydramnios?

Abdominal discomfort, back pain, shortness of breath, or extreme swelling in the feet and ankles may indicate polyhydramnios. A health care professional should be notified if these symptoms occur.

Complications of Polyhydramnios

In many cases the condition is mild and occurs as a result of a gradual build-up of fluid during the second half of pregnancy. At times, the condition appears as early as the 16th week, and requires early delivery. Polyhydramnios may lead to umbilical cord complications, preterm delivery, or placental abruption. The growth of the fetus may also be affected. Too much amniotic fluid may create a greater risk of an umbilical cord prolapse (when the cord falls through the cervical opening ahead of the fetus), requiring a C-section.

Treatments for Polyhydramnios

Careful management of the pregnancy is the most common treatment for this condition. A high-resolution ultrasound will be used to detect any abnormalities. Non-stress tests will be given throughout the pregnancy to closely watch the baby’s development. A test for gestational diabetes will also be given.

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