Polyhydramnios occurs when you have too much amniotic fluid in your uterus, which is the opposite of Oligohydramnios, which means you have a low amount of amniotic fluid.
Your amniotic fluid is vital as it acts as a cushion that protects your baby from any trauma you may experience to your belly, aids your baby's lung development and acts as a barrier against any infections that may reach your baby.
Many women want to know if it is a safe option to plan a VBAC if they have too much amniotic fluid present in their womb. I hope we can answer this question in an easy to digest way.
Having too much amniotic fluid is relatively rare and can be present in any pregnant woman, but research shows us it occurs in about 1% of all pregnancies, and it's usually noticed during the second or third trimester of pregnancy, Polyhydramnios can be present from as early as 16 weeks.
What symptoms may I have if I have polyhydramnios?
Women with Polyhydramnios may not have any symptoms, but depending on the severity of the condition, they may experience severe symptoms. Some of the symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
Swollen feet, hip, ankles, leg or thigh
Decrease in the production of urine
Tight feeling in your stomach
Are these symptoms isolated to polyhydramnios?
No. These symptoms are also common pregnancy symptoms. You will need to see your care provider to have the relevant tests to determine if you have Polyhydramnios.
What complications does Polyhydramnios cause?
Polyhydramnios may not cause any significant problems for you or your baby, but for some women, they have an increased risk of:
Giving birth prematurely before they reach 37 weeks
Placental abruption - when the placenta separates from the uterus.
Premature rupture of the membranes - your waters breaking after 37 weeks but before labor has completely started.
Postpartum haemorrhage - occurs when you have severe bleeding after you give birth to your baby.
What causes Polyhydramnios?
Understanding the cause for Polyhydramnios is not known for the majority of women, but for others, the reason may be due to:
A congenital disability - May affect the babies basic involuntary reflex to swallow. The amniotic fluid is consumed by the fetus and then urinated out, regulating the amniotic fluid levels. If the baby has difficulty in swallowing, the amniotic fluid will build up, causing Polyhydramnios.
Infection - If your baby develops an infection during pregnancy
Diabetes - If you have diabetes before you were pregnant or developed gestational diabetes, which is a condition in which you have too much sugar in your blood.
Pregnant with identical twins with Transfusion Syndrome also known as (TTTS), occurs when one twin has too much blood and the other twin doesn't have enough.
Blood differences in between mother and fetus. (Mothers has R negative blood, and the fetus may have Rh-positive blood)
A blockage in your babies Gastrointestinal system.
What you can do if you have Polyhydramnios
If you have Polyhydramnios, it's a good idea to contact your care provider to get the relevant tests and support. You can
Discuss any new symptoms or concerns with your care provider. You should inform your midwife or obstetrician if you notice your stomach has become bigger. It's also important to stay calm and not become overly anxious because Polyhydramnios doesn't usually signify a serious complication or problem, and many women have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Resting is crucial if you have Polyhydramnios. Put your feet up and take it easy.
Can you have a VBAC If you have Polyhydramnios?
The answer is yes for the majority of women. Your care provider may ask you to be induced or to labor and birth in a hospital to ensure you, and your baby receives extra support and care if you need it. Depending on your symptoms and the reason for your Polyhydramnios, your care provider may offer a caesarean section if birthing vaginally is riskier than having a repeat caesarean section.
It's important to discuss your birth intentions with your obstetrician or midwife to workout if having a VBAC is a safe option for you and your baby. Don't be afraid to voice your opinions or ask to be retested, to see another care provider or birth professional for a second opinion. It's your right. But it's important to stay optimistic because women have had a successful VBAC with Polyhydramnios.