Polyhydramnios: What Expectant Parents Need to Know About Increased Amniotic Fluid

Polyhydramnios, a condition characterized by an increased amniotic fluid surrounding the developing baby in the womb, can raise concerns and questions for parents-to-be. Amniotic fluid plays a vital role in fetal development, but having too much can pose potential risks. In this blog, we’ll delve into what polyhydramnios is, its causes, complications, and management strategies.

What is Amniotic Fluid and Why Is It Important?

Amniotic fluid is a clear, straw-coloured liquid that cushions and protects the developing baby in the uterus. It helps with:

  • Temperature regulation: Keeps the infant’s temperature steady.
  • Protection: Cushions the baby from bumps and impacts.
  • Development: Aids in the healthy development of the baby’s muscles, lungs, and digestive system.
  • Movement: Gives the infant room to expand and move.

Understanding Polyhydramnios:


Polyhydramnios is a condition caused by an abnormally increased amniotic fluid in the sac that surrounds the foetus in the womb. Amniotic fluid levels normally rise steadily throughout pregnancy, reaching a high between weeks 32 and 34 before stabilising. On the other hand, amniotic fluid levels are higher than normal in cases of polyhydramnios, which can have many implications for the mother and the unborn child.

Symptoms of Polyhydramnios:

Many women may not have any symptoms at all. Severe cases, however, may result in:

  • Breathlessness
  • Discomfort and pain in the abdomen
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Visible enlargement of the abdomen

Causes of Polyhydramnios

Excess amniotic fluid can have a variety of causes, some of which are unknown. Nonetheless, some potential causes are as follows:

  • Fetal malformations: Some birth defects may make it difficult for the unborn child to swallow amniotic fluid, which could result in an excess of it.
  • Maternal health conditions: Polyhydramnios can be exacerbated by conditions like gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and Rh incompatibility.
  • Multiple pregnancies: Twins or triplets can naturally produce increased amniotic fluid.

Diagnosis and Management:

Ultrasound is usually used to diagnose polyhydramnios during routine prenatal visits. To find out if the amount is excessive, your doctor will evaluate the Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI) or Single Deepest Pocket (SDP).


The severity and underlying cause of polyhydramnios determine how it should be managed. While monitoring may be adequate in certain situations, other situations may call for measures like:

  • Amnioreduction: A procedure to relieve pressure by removing some extra fluid.
  • Medication: For the treatment of underlying diseases such as diabetes.
  • Early delivery: In extreme circumstances, especially if there are concerns about fetal health.

Prognosis and Long-Term Effects:

The severity and underlying cause of polyhydramnios determine the prognosis. Most pregnancies with moderate polyhydramnios can be managed successfully. Nonetheless, the condition may make some issues more likely, like:

  • Preterm labour and delivery: Due to the stretched uterus.
  • Breech presentation: When the baby is positioned feet-first.
  • Fetal complications: In severe cases, growth problems and birth defects may occur.

See your doctor right away if you have any symptoms that point to polyhydramnios, such as severe abdominal distension, dyspnea, or unexpected weight gain.


While polyhydramnios can be concerning for expectant parents, it’s essential to remember that proactive monitoring and appropriate management strategies can help ensure the best possible outcome for both mother and baby. Open communication with a fetal medicine expert, regular prenatal care, and a supportive network can provide reassurance and guidance throughout the journey.

Polyhydramnios Diagnosis & Management in Pune

Consult Dr Tejas Tamhane, a well-known Fetal Medicine Expert in Pune, to guide you through the detection and management of Polyhydramnios (Increased Amniotic Fluid).

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