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High Amniotic Fluid During third Trimester
October 19th, 2015

High Amniotic Fluid During Third Trimester

Amniotic fluid is the nourishing and protecting liquid contained by the amniotic sacs of pregnant women, and grows and begins to fill around two weeks gestation. At about ten weeks, the amniotic liquid contains proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, phospholipids, electrolytes and a number of other nutrients that help with the growth of your fetus. This fluid passes from your circulatory system to the amniotic sac, and early in the second trimester, your baby aids in the recycling of this fluid. If and when this process breaks down, you can end up with too little or too much fluid; and either issue can cause problems.

Too much amniotic fluid is called polyhydramnios, and occurs in only about 1% of pregnancies. The symptoms of polyhydramnios are few, if any and result from pressure being put on the uterus or nearby organs. Symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to breathe except when upright
  • Swelling in lower extremities, abdominal wall or vulva
  • Decreased urine production
  • Measuring larger than you should
  • Trouble hearing the baby’s heartbeat
  • Trouble feeling the baby

Treatments depend on the severity of your condition- most cases are mild, or moderate- an on whether or not the cause has been identified. Most mild cases in which the cause is unknown will sort themselves out as the pregnancy goes on.

A few causes of polyhydramnios are known and include:

  • Diabetes- uncontrolled sugar levels may cause your baby to produce more urine
  • Infection- parovirus or toxoplasmosis can cause a heightened amniotic fluid
  • Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS)- this is partially the fault of the shared placenta providing too much blood to one twin, and this twin trying to relieve itself of fluid by excess urine production
  • A complication with your baby
  • Chromosomal abnormality

In severe cases, amniotic fluid can be drained; this can cause you or increase the risk of premature labor. Complications with this procedure are not common.

High levels of amniotic fluid are not known to commonly cause problems with labor, but it is recommended you utilize a facility rather than a home birth to decrease risk if a complication arises. Post birth, you should face no issues, and should be able to nurse your child and care for them as usual. If your child does come early, and is in the NICU, you may be encouraged to purchase a breast pump to establish or keep your milk supply.

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