Polyhydramnios is the opposite end of the scale, being defined as 2000 ml of fluid at term or greater. This occurs in fewer that 1 % of the pregnancies.
While some feel that polyhydramnios is a cause for preterm labor because of uterine distension, polyhydramnios in and of itself is not a predictor for preterm labor, rather the cause of the increase in fluid is predictive of whether the pregnancy will go to term.
Polyhydramnios is more likely to occur when:
- There is a multiple gestation.
- There is Maternal diabetes.
- There is a congenital malformation.
There are varying degrees of polyhydramnios. The severity of polyhydramnios does not have an influence on the weight of your baby, as earlier studies had predicted.
Treatment is varying for polyhydramnios, including drug treatments, selective use of amniocentesis to reduce the fluid volume.
Left untreated there may be further risks at the birth, small in number, but they should be addressed. This would include a greater incidence of cord prolapse, fetal malpresentation, placental abruption, and postpartum hemorrhage.
Considering that the current testing is not beneficial in all aspects of prediction, we need to address how to find a manner that is non-invasive to treat these disorders of amniotic fluid. So the question becomes how often do we test, who do we test, and what do we do with the results? Right now, the answers are not clear and should be taken on a case by case basis.
They majority of women diagnosed with either of these problems, will not give birth to a baby with a problem, but the concern is there and does need to be appropriately addressed by her care provider.
Acute Obstetrics: A Practical Guide, Heppard and Garite, 1996, Mosby.
Human Labor and Birth, 5th Edition, Harry Oxorn, 1986, Prentice Hall.