Polyhydramnios: Symptoms, Causes, Risk, Therapy


Polyhydramnios is a medical condition which happens during pregnancy. It occurs due to the increase of amniotic fluid in the uterus of the pregnant mother. This fluid increases as the amount of urination of the fetus increases. It is the opposite condition of olugohydramnios.

This slightly yellowish fluid plays a critical role in the development of the fetus. However, the increase in the overall amount increases the amount of complications. It causes problems in different stages of the pregnancy also after the child is being born.

The disease is further classified into two categories.

  • Chronic Polyhydramnois: This is mostly characterized by the slow accumulation of the amniotic fluid.
  • Acute Polyhydramnois: This is associated with the sudden and rapid accumulation of the fluid.

Causes of Polyhydramnois

There are various layers of causes which triggers such disease. Below are the main reasons for the accumulation of such fluid in the mother’s uterus.

Causes Related to the Fetus

There are certain causes related to the fetus. They are the following:

  • If the fetal has certain clinical abnormalities in the kidney or any other major organs like the brain, then it can trigger the secretion of the amniotic fluid.
  • If the size of the baby is too large in comparison to the uterus then also it is likely to urinate more and create this kind of problem for the mother.
  • The deficiency of red blood cell of the fetus can also lead to such diseases
  • If accumulation of fluid occurs in two or more fetal compartments then it can lead to such critical problems.
  • If the fetus itself has certain chromosomal deficiency or genetic problems related to diabetes then this kind of issue might arise.

Polyhydramnios, symptoms of Polyhydramnios, causes of Polyhydramnios, Polyhydramnios risks


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Causes Related to the Placenta

Sometimes it is not the fetus which causes the problem. It is sometimes the mother’s placenta which triggers such issues. The following are the problem related to the mothers’ placenta:

  • If the mother is carrying identical twins then the amount of urine or the amniotic fluid can increase to a great extent. The mother’s placenta might not be able to process that much of fluid formation.
  • Sometimes there are abnormal growth of the blood vessels which lead to the problems such as polyhydramnios.

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Causes Related to the Mother

Some of the problems are directly related to the mother’s health condition. The following the problems, related to the mother’s health condition:

  • If the mother is suffering from previous infections like herpes then the chances of the disease is on the higher side.
  • If the mother had a history of diabetes. Or if the mother’s family has a history of diabetes then also the chances of such disease increases.
  • The condition of the disease also stimulates if the mother is already suffering from rhesus disease. This kind of disease makes the antibodies cross the placenta and affect the child in the womb.
  • If there is a blood type incompatibility between the mother and the child, then also the chances of this disease increase.
  • Mothers suffering from hypertension are most likely to suffer from polyhydramnios than the mothers who are not.
  • If the mother’s blood sugar level was abnormally high, before pregnancy then the chances of the disease is high.
  • Also if the mother is already suffering from pre-eclampsia then also the chances of the disease increase.

Symptoms of Polyhydramnios

There are instances where any kind of mild cases of the disease do not show any symptom. However, if the problem becomes severe then there are noticeable symptoms.

  • The mother might feel difficulty in breathing unless she is standing or sitting upright.
  • She will feel short of breath whilst climbing up on the stairs.
  • The mother will tend to urinate less frequently. This is a very significant symptom because during pregnancy you tend to urinate more than usual.
  • Larger belly size compared to the gestational age.
  • Abnormal swelling of the legs and the abdominal wall.
  • Losing of weight. This is also a significant symptom as during pregnancy you tend to gain more weight than usual.

The mother’s body starts to get affected in a number of ways when this problem starts to initiate. Polyhydramnios lead to many other complications for the mother:

  • The mother might suffer from indigestion.
  • She will feel excessive heart burn.
  • Constipation will be a regular problem.
  • She will suffer from abnormal amount of abdominal pain.
  • There will be visible stretch marks.
  • The walls of the veins might stop working resulting in accumulation of various weak spots.

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Risk Factors Associated with Polyhydramnois

The disease exposes both the mother and the child to various levels of risks of further complications.

  • The mother might go into premature labor or give birth to a premature baby.
  • The wall of the placenta of the mother might partially or fully get ruptured. The damage is irreversible.
  • The increase in the amount of amniotic fluid can very well tear and break the membranes of the uterus of the mother.
  • The child might get born with various birth defects including Down syndrome and cleft palate.
  • It might cause fetal malpoistion
  • It can also increase the size of the fetus by a great extent.

Different Tests to Detect Polyhydramnois

If you are diagnosed with the disease then you will be put under close monitoring. The health of your child and yours will be tested on a regular basis. There are number of tests by which the amount of amniotic fluid can be measured.

  • Firstly, there is a non-stress test
  • Then there is the biophysical profile test
  • Doppler ultrasounds
  • Fetal Echocardiogram
  • Contraction Stress Test
  • There can be blood tests for monitoring the level of diabetes.

Read More: Peripartum Cardiomyopathy: Causes, Signs and Symptoms

Coping with Polyhydramnios

  • The doctor will advise to take complete bed rest.
  • You should avoid eating larger meals at a time. Break your meals into smaller parts.
  • Use pillows and cushion for supporting your belly.
  • Avoid having spicy or oily food. It will worsen the heartburn.
  • Do not lie down immediately after having your food.
  • You can take regular antenatal classes to cope with polyhydramnios.