Posted on: 15 November 2017
Polyhydramnios or excess amniotic fluid can make for a very uncomfortable last trimester. Although it can appear as early as 16 weeks gestation, polyhydramnios usually appears during the last few weeks of pregnancy. An ultrasound is usually performed to determine if polyhydramnios is present. If there is excess amniotic fluid, the amount will be measured by the ultrasound technologist. Once your obstetrician receives the results, it will be determined if the amount of excess fluid is mild, moderate or severe. Polyhydramnios affects only about one percent of pregnant women in the United States--and of those one percent, the condition is usually mild with no complications.
Your obstetrician won't automatically test you for excess amniotic fluid. Usually there are tell-tale symptoms present that may include a very large uterus that is measuring two or more weeks past where it should. You might also feel lots of pressure on your pelvic organs and lower extremities due to the polyhydramnios pressing against your bladder. Breathing may become difficult when your enlarged uterus causes other internal organs to press against your lungs. Other reasons for excess amniotic fluid include gestational diabetes, issues with your unborn baby swallowing or congenital heart defects.
Keeping A Watchful Eye
If it is determined that you have moderate or severe polyhydramnios, your obstetrician will keep an eye on your condition with weekly fetal monitoring, usually in the form of a non-stress test (NST). Non-stress tests are non-invasive, put no stress on the baby and are performed after 28 weeks. An NST uses two belts around the belly to measure the baby's heart rate and reactivity to any contractions. Polyhydramnios can interfere with hearing a baby's heartbeat. So an NST is useful to determine how the baby is faring with the extra fluid. Also, if you haven't already been tested for gestational diabetes, you will be subject to testing as higher glucose levels can lead to excess amniotic fluid. Undiagnosed or untreated polyhydramnios can lead to preterm birth and other complications that may require medication or bed rest.
Treatment For Severe Polyhydramnios
If perchance you have severe excess amniotic fluid, your obstetrician may elect to remove some of the liquid with a large needle and test it. This procedure is called an amniocentesis. However, this is usually a last resort as any invasive procedure during pregnancy can cause complications, including infection, preterm labor if the expectant mother's water breaks, or very rarely, stillbirth.
If you are diagnosed with polyhydramnios, follow your obstetrician's directions to the letter. Most of the time bed rest is the order of the day. It can be difficult, but keeping weekly appointments and staying on bed rest will help ensure the delivery of a healthy baby. Contact a clinic, like Desert Rose OBGYN PC, for more help.Share