When there is Excess Amniotic Fluid in third Trimester

Amniotic fluid is the liquid that surrounds your child in the womb. It is very important as it protects the baby in different ways. Most obviously it cushions the fetus if you bump into something. It also allows the umbilical cord to flow freely, thus ensuring a constant supply of oxygen to your baby. In addition, it helps keep a steady temperature in the womb as well as protect your baby from infections. The amniotic fluid plays a vital role in the development of the baby.

During the first three months of pregnancy, your fluid passes from your circulatory system into the amniotic sac. In time, the baby will start drinking the fluid, after it has passed through the body it comes out as urine, and the process starts again. This is a way for your baby’s digestive and respiratory system to develop. The amniotic fluid will increase until about a month before birth.

Sometimes, though, this process gets out of balance and there is too much amniotic fluid in the sac, also called hydramnios or polyhydramnios. How would you know?

There are certain indications that will make your doctor suspect hydramnios. One is if your uterus is growing faster and bigger than normal. Other signs could be shortness of breath, swelling of feet, pain in back or abdomen. Although these problems are often part of any pregnancy, it is still good to report any changes in your situation to  your doctor.

If your doctor suspects you’re having too much amniotic fluid, he will ask you to do an ultrasound.On the ultrasound they will be able to see how much fluid you have in your uterus. If you have hydroamnios, you will need to continue doing a number of tests. This has to do with the implications of too much amniotic fluid.

One reason this could happen is whether there is something wrong with the baby. Since the amniotic fluidis constantly circulating through the baby’s body and comes out as urine, an increase in the amount of fluid would indicate that the baby is not able to swallow it. This could be because of an abnormality such as a cleft lip or palate, or some kind of blockage in the gastrointestinal tract. Certain neurological problems, such as neural tube defects or hydrocephaly, can keep the baby from swallowing as well.

To find out if this is the reason behind too much amniotic fluid, a more detailed ultrasound will be made, as well as a possible amniocentesis test. All the time, the baby’s condition will be monitored with a non-stress test.

Another reason why the amniotic fluid is increasing could be gestational diabetes. Your doctor will therefor carefully check you to see if you have developed this. It is more common that these problems occur toward the end of the pregnancy.

Carrying multiples sometimes bring on excess of amniotic fluid when there is not a balanced division of fluid between the babies. In very rare cases, hydroamnios is due to anemia or infection in the baby.

As seen from these examples, an excess of amniotic fluid in the last trimester could be an indication that something is wrong. It might not be anything serious, but it is always good to check carefully. You will be monitored well until the time for birth. If you have any doubts or problems, always discuss these with your doctor.