Polyhydramnios is condition during pregnancy when there is excessive amniotic fluid in the womb. In the trimester fluid builds up in your amniotic sac. Then early in your second trimester, your baby starts to swallow the fluid, which then passes through his kidneys and he excretes as urine. Sometimes this process breaks down, and this results in either too much or too little fluid. If you have too much fluid, it is called polyhydramnios. This happens in about 1% of pregnancies.
Your doctor will notice if you have excess amniotic fluid if your uterus is growing more rapidly than normal. You might also suffer from unusual abdominal discomfort, increased back pain, extreme swelling in your feet and ankles, and shortness of breath.
It is not certain what causes polyhydramnios in all cases. In moderate to severe cases, the causes might include: Maternal diabetes, carrying twins or multiples, genetic abnormalities such as Down Syndrome and fetal abnormalities.
In mild cases of polyhydramnios where a cause cannot be found, the condition is likely to get better as the pregnancy progresses. You will need to rest as much as possible, which might mean starting your maternity leave early. You may also need to be admitted to hospital. You will have regular checkups to monitor your progress, either in hospital or as an outpatient.
An ultrasound scan should be able to spot if there are other problems and will keep track of your fluid levels. If a detailed scan shows there is nothing wrong, your baby is almost certainly fine. If a problem is identified, you may be prescribed a drug to reduce the amount of urine your baby produces. If your baby has an abnormalities which can be operated on, your labour might need to be induced. Your doctor will talk you through the best course of action for your baby.