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Polyhydramnios During Pregnancy

Updated on December 21, 2014
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Barbara worked at Thomas Hospital Home Health and is certified for home health from ANCC. She received her MSN from Mobile University, AL.

Juli and David Wyatt Bethard
Juli and David Wyatt Bethard | Source
Juli as Supergirl after playing with her Daddy!
Juli as Supergirl after playing with her Daddy! | Source

Joy of being pregnant!

Maybe it was on purpose

Perhaps it was a surprise

Does not matter one whit

Being pregnant, from a female point of view.

Wonder how it makes the father feel

Hit like a punch in the gut

Scared of what everyone will say

Or so proud it is shouted out at every dart game?

Does not matter, not a whit

Being pregnant, for a male and for a female too;

They all know that what they have been given

Is a gift.

Amniotic fluid

Amniotic fluid is the cushioning as well as all the nutrients the fetus needs to survive and thrive during the 9 months of your pregnancy. Besides enabling your baby to swim around, exercise its joints, help in the development of it's lungs, poke and prod you (especially whenever you lay down!) and kick until you feel like the baby's own personal football amniotic fluid is swallowed and inhaled by your baby in the womb! The excess fluid comes out in your uterus as urine from the baby. All of this is normal and necessary for a healthy baby and a safe delivery. Mayo Clinic states that a normal amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby is 5 to 20 centimeters. This translates to two thirds of an ounce in fluid (30 centimeters=1 ounce) but the Mayo Clinic uses the centimeters to show as a solid, so it becomes anywhere between 2 to nearly 9 inches.

Also remember your cervix will open (dilate) to 10 centimeters during labor.

What is the nomal versus abnormal amount of amniotic fluid?

Whenever you visit your OB (Obstetrician physician) one of the things the nurse does is measure your fundus (stomach from umbilicus (belly button) to pubis(top of your pelvic head over your periarea). Not only does this measurement help give your OB physician an idea of how far along you are in weeks of pregnancy, it also tells if there may be too much weight gain, too much fluid, and of course the opposite. If your OB is concerned tests may be done to check for pregnancy induced diabetes which can cause problems with mother's blood sugar and excessive weight gain of newborn as well as high blood sugar of the newborn. Or the tests may include an ultrasound to detect excessive weight gain, or even an amniocentesis. Amniocentesis shows fetal cells and chemicals from around the fetus. If abnormalities are detected then another amniocentesis is performed called a karyotype test. This test actually evaluates the chromosomes of the fetus to check for congenital defects.

If there is an excess amount of amniotic fluid the mother experiences decreased urination (increases risk of UTI (urinary tract infection), shortness of breath (uterus and excess fluid pushing up on the mothers lungs, premature break of waters (amniotic fluid ruptures too soon) which leads to Cesarean Section of premature infant.

Worst case scenario

Polyhydramnios is an extremely high risk pregnancy.The prognosis is not good. It makes your pregnancy and yourself and your unborn child be at extremely high risk. The earlier during your pregnancy that you develop excessive amniotic fluid the more risk are incurred. Your OB will do everything in his/her power to ensure a safe delivery.

However, worst case scenarios includes congenital defects, lung disorders of the fetus/newborn, blood incompatibility, such as when the mother is RH (RhoGam) negative and the fetus is RH positive. During first stages of labor the placenta may detect too soon (placenta abruptio) which is an immediate life threatening event for both mother and newborn and stillbirth.

Are there any treatments that help?

A lot of times, as when the blood is incompatible with the mothers an in vitro (while fetus still in uterus) blood transfusion if done. Sometimes the mother is the one to take the RHoGam all through her pregnancy. The mother will definitely be give the GTT (Glucose Tolerance Test) which is an extremely syrupy liquid you have to drink without having eaten or drunk anything for the past 12 hours. You wait, then in 2 hours the nurse takes a blood sugar reading with a diabetic finger-stick machine that tests the amount of blood glucose in your blood. Anything over 120 is too high. Sometimes the OB physician will take a sample of the mothers blood to determine any predisposing to certain genetic defects.

Sometimes mild cases of polyhydramnios just stops and all is well the remainder of the pregnancy. However, if it continues the OB physician may need to drain off some of the fetus' amniotic fluid, and it may be required more than once over the course of you pregnancy.

Sometimes an antibiotic called Indomethicin is given to the mother to help decrease urine production of the fetus and therefore decreases amniotic fluid itself. However, Indomethicin has been shown to cause ductus arteriosus (hole in the baby's heart) so it is used very cautiously, rarely and for a very short duration.


In the end, the OB physician has to monitor the mother and fetus closely and treat every symptom that comes up. As the parents, both mother and father need as much support and education as they require to know when to call their OB physician and or nurse.

What is written here does not now nor does it ever take the place of your physician’s advice and services of your physician.

Consult your physician every time for all things medically related and of course, if you feel you have any of the signs or symptoms of what has been written in this hub, please contact your physician for a consultation as soon as possible.


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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Thank you Gail :)

      Thought I would deviate from home health a bit!

      ain't she just the spittin image of......ME!!!!! that's actually true cause David Wyatt looks like me :)

      but she and David W even make the same facial expressions AT THE SAME TIME!!!

      too cool :)

      maybe one day?

      love to you

      barbara b

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub with easy to understand explanations that could help walk a pregnant mother experiencing polyhydramnios through the myriad of testing and monitoring that is done to protect mother and baby.

      The photos of Juli are adorable!