Polyhydramnios is when there is too much amniotic fluid around the baby during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb. This fluid allows the baby to move, grow, and stay safe.

Symptoms of Polyhydramnios

Polyhydramnios tends to develop gradually and there may be no noticeable symptoms. Some signs to watch out for include;

  • Breathlessness
  • Constipation
  • Heartburn
  • Swollen feet and ankles

However, these symptoms are common problems encountered during pregnancy and may not necessarily be caused by polyhydramnios. If these symptoms occur, a doctor should be consulted.

Risks Associated with Polyhydramnios

Most women with polyhydramnios do not experience any significant problems during their pregnancy and have a healthy baby. However, there may be a slightly increased risk of some pregnancy and birth complications;

  • Premature birth
  • Prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Fetal distress and increased need for admission to the neonatal intensive care unit
  • Need for a cesarean section

Causes of Polyhydramnios

Research shows that less than 2% of pregnancies meet the criteria for a diagnosis of polyhydramnios. Mostly, it is not known what causes this condition in a pregnant woman with polyhydramnios. However, there are some conditions associated with an increased risk of polyhydramnios;

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • A blockage in the baby’s gut
  • An infection during pregnancy
  • Some genetic conditions
  • Rhesus disease (a condition that develops when antibodies in the pregnant person’s blood attack the blood cells of the fetus)

Treatment of Polyhydramnios

Once diagnosed, the doctor may order some additional visits and ultrasound scans to check the baby. However, one possible treatment is a procedure called an amnioreduction, which involves draining some of the excess fluid, sometimes with the use of a vacuum-assisted aspiration device, which is generally considered a safe procedure with low complication rates.


  1. NHS. Polyhydramnioshttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/polyhydramnios/
  2. National Library of Medicine. Amniotic Fluidhttps://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002220.htm
  3. Zeino S, et al. Delivery outcomes of term pregnancy complicated by idiopathic polyhydramnios. Journal of Gynecology Obstetrics and Human Reproduction. 2017;46(4):349-354. 
  4. Khan S, Donnelly J. Outcome of pregnancy in women diagnosed with idiopathic polyhydramnios. Aust N Z JObstet Gynaecol. 2017;57(1):57-62. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajo.12578
  5. Moore LE. Amount of polyhydramnios attributable to diabetes may be less than previously reported. World J Diabetes. 2017;8(1):7-10. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v8.i1.7
  6. Lord M, Marino S, Kole M. Amniotic fluid index. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022.
  7. NHS. Rhesus Diseasehttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/rhesus-disease/
  8. Dickinson JE, Tjioe YY, Jude E, Kirk D, Franke M, Nathan E. Amnioreduction in themanagement of polyhydramnios complicating singleton pregnancies. Am JObstet Gynecol. 2014;211(4):434.e1-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.05.036