Too much amniotic fluid, polyhydramnios: what are the causes?

If the woman is pregnant, the unborn fetus grows in a membrane. The child stays in amniotic fluid in that membrane (amniotic sac), so that it is always warm and comfortable. However, the amount of amniotic fluid can vary, increasing pressure on the child or the abdominal wall. Too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) can potentially lead to premature birth or miscarriage. What are the underlying reasons for having a lot of amniotic fluid, what influence does it have and how can it be treated?

Too much amniotic fluid, polyhydramnios

  • Symptoms of polyhydramnios
  • Atresia of the esophagus
  • Baby peeing a lot
  • Nervous abnormalities
  • Too much amniotic fluid and have a puncture done

Symptoms of polyhydramnios

Excessive amniotic fluid will grow gradually, so the woman often doesn’t notice it much. However, if it is an acute circumstance, the abdomen will grow excessively. That circumstance usually occurs between sixteen and twenty weeks of pregnancy. The woman will retain more fluid, causing the legs to swell. In addition, the pressure on the abdominal wall, but also on the child, increases. This can have consequences for the development of the child, because too much pressure means that insufficient oxygen-rich blood and nutrition are supplied. Sometimes it can lead to the membranes breaking too quickly. What causes too much amniotic fluid?

Atresia of the esophagus

In 1:4000 births there is a blocked esophagus. Initially the esophagus simply grew, but it became stuck and closed. In addition, it may also be that the passage has not been formed. As a result, the baby cannot swallow and therefore part of the amniotic fluid is not absorbed. It is also recognizable because food is not absorbed, saliva cannot travel and the infant starts to blow bubbles, as it were. It means that the newborn must immediately undergo surgery so that the passage is restored. Fistulas are closed and the two esophageal parts are sutured together. It may involve temporarily placing a tube in the esophagus to simplify feeding. Please note that the child may experience long-term feeding problems. It may mean that the swallowing function is disturbed and food reflux occurs.

Baby peeing a lot

If the woman is pregnant, more estrogen and HCG are produced. Estrogen promotes the condition of the uterus, so that the child can grow properly. The milk-producing glands are also activated. The HCG ensures that a distinction is made between nutritional sources. The child gets energy from freshly ingested food, while the woman gets energy from stored fats. The combination of increased hormone levels can lead to less insulin production, causing insulin resistance. This causes the blood glucose level to increase, causing the child to feed more unilaterally. This has two consequences. The child will urinate more, which increases the amount of amniotic fluid. On the other hand, the child will grow relatively too quickly. The risk of premature birth or miscarriage is then real. This condition is called gestational diabetes.

Nervous abnormalities

Abnormal growth may occur during the development of the unborn fetus. Consider anencephaly, in which the nerve pathways do not develop sufficiently. As a result, the brain cannot or hardly communicate with the body. Down syndrome may also apply. It ensures that the child cannot swallow sufficiently, causing an imbalance in the amount of amniotic fluid. Too much amniotic fluid can therefore be a signal that the child is developing unusually.

Too much amniotic fluid and have a puncture done

To reduce the risk of premature birth or miscarriage, part of the amniotic fluid can be drained. Normally, amniocentesis is used to detect conditions or diseases in the child at an early stage. In this case it can be used to release the pressure. This can be done from 16 weeks of pregnancy. To this end, a needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into the amniotic sac, after which the fluid is drained. Please note that in 0.3% of cases, amniocentesis can lead to a miscarriage.

Make sure you are regularly checked to see how far the fetus is developing. Have yourself checked by your GP and follow the advice.

read more

  • Premature birth: what are the recognition signals?