Amniotic fluid is what your baby swims around in during your pregnancy. It protects the baby from movement outside the womb, maintains his temperature, helps his lung development and keeps the umbilical cord safe. Most of the time, there will be no problems at all with the amniotic fluid. But in some cases, a woman will have either too little or too much amniotic fluid. Too much amniotic fluid is also known as polyhydromnios. What if this happens to you?
If you have minor polyhydromnios, in other words a little too much amniotic fluid, you will be unlikely to have any problems. But in some women, amniotic fluid builds up so quickly that it can lead to a number of complications. One of the dangers of polyhydromnios is premature rupture of membranes, more commonly referred to your water breaking. Preterm labor is another complication associated with too much amniotic fluid. In addition, women with polyhydromnios have more frequent occurrences of a placental abruption, postpartum hemorrhage, and stillbirth.
So, what causes polyhydromnios? In some cases, gestational diabetes can lead to too much amniotic fluid in the uterus. Other cases are caused by birth defects in the baby, an infection, or Rh incompatibility between mother and baby. Twin pregnancies also have higher rates of too much amniotic fluid, particularly where there is twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Treatment varies from cases to case.
Where there is only a slight excess of amniotic fluid, often nothing needs to be done. Medications can be used to reduce the amount of amniotic fluid sometimes, and an amniocentesis, which is normally used as a form of prenatal testing, can also be applied to drain some of the amniotic fluid that is present. Careful prenatal monitoring would apply in all case, and additional tests would be recommended by healthcare providers.