Amniotic fluid surrounds your unborn baby and protects it as it develops. It also helps the baby’s muscles, lungs, and digestive tract develop correctly. Your healthcare provider has found that you have too much amniotic fluid in your uterus. This is called polyhydramnios. The problem is often easily managed.
Causes of polyhydramnios
Polyhydramnios may be more common in women with diabetes or certain other health problems. A health problem in the baby may also be a cause. But in more than 5 out of 10 cases, the cause of the high fluid levels is not known.
An ultrasound is done to measure the amount of amniotic fluid in the uterus. The ultrasound uses sound waves to create detailed images of the inside of the uterus. During the ultrasound test, the amount of amniotic fluid is measured. Most often this is done using a method called amniotic fluid index (AFI).
Polyhydramnios often doesn't go away on its own. Most issues that cause polyhydramnios don't correct themselves and will need to be treated. Your healthcare provider will do regular ultrasounds to watch your amniotic fluid level. Regular prenatal care is also done to check your baby's health. In many cases, no treatment is needed. If your provider decides that treatment is needed, it may include:
Medicines. These help reduce the amount of fluid being produced. They are rarely used beyond 32 weeks.
Amnioreduction. This drains excess fluid from the uterus. This is done during amniocentesis.
Induction of labor. This may be done if the pregnancy is at term or beyond. Your healthcare provider will tell you more, if needed.
If you or your baby has a condition that has caused the high amniotic fluid level, the condition will be treated. Sometimes an issue affecting the baby can't be treated until after delivery. Your healthcare provider can tell you more about the cause of your high amniotic fluid level. He or she can also discuss any needed treatments with you.
Call your healthcare provider
Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your provider
Sudden or severe belly cramping
Fluid leaking from the vagina
Regular, rhythmic contractions
Baby moving less than normal