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Updated: Jan 26 2022

Poly / Oligohydraminos
  • A 25-year-old G1P0 mother at 33-weeks gestation presents to her obstetrician for routine pregnancy visit. She reports feeling intermittently “bloated” and subsequent ultrasound shows increased volume of amniotic fluid with an amniotic fluid index of 25 cm. She denies any pain currently. Fetal structural survey reveals no congenital anomalies noted on exam. She continues with expectant management of her pregnancy. (Polyhydramnios)
  • Overview
    • amniotic fluid is essential for fetal growth and development, protecting the fetus from trauma and infection, and aids the development of fetal lungs
    • polyhydramnios
      • abnormally high volume of amniotic fluid
    • oligohydramnios
      • abnormally low volume of amniotic fluid
Overview of Polyhydramnios vs Oligohydramnios

  • 1% of all pregnanices
  • 11% of all pregnanices
  • Congenital anomaly (most common)
    • fetal gastrointestinal tract blockage (esophageal atresia and other intestinal atresia)
  • Twin-twin transfusion syndrome
  • Maternal diabetes
  • Rupture of membranes  (most common)
  • Fetal urinary tract blockage (polycystic kidneys, posterior urethral valves, and renal agenesis)
  • Maternal substance abuse
  • Usually associated with good prognosis
  • Mortality rate is high, particularly if diagnosed in the first trimester
  • Oligohydramnios can increase the fetal risk for chest wall fixation and pulmonary hypoplasia
  • Prognosis
    • polyhydramnios and oligohydramnios on their own are associated with good prognosis
    • however, depending on the etiology, such as renal agenesis where mortality is 100%, prognosis varies
  • Symptoms
    • often asymptomatic
    • may have abdominal discomfort if severe
  • Physical exam
    • large uterus (polyhydramnios)
  • Ultrasound
    • indication
      • all patients
    • findings
      • can assess for amniotic fluid index (AFI)
        • calculated by dividing the abdomen into 4 quadrants and using the largest vertical pocket of fluid to estimate the total volume
        • polyhydramnios
          • AFI > 24 cm
        • oligohydramnios
          • AFI < 7 cm
      • fetal structure survey
        • may also visualize any congenital abnormalities
  • Twin-twin transfusion syndrome
    • key distinguishing factor
      • monozygotic twin pregnancy with anastomotic vessel shunting from one fetus to another
  • Medical
    • prostaglandin synthetase inhibitors
      • indication
        • to reduce amniotic fluid volume
        • maternal discomfort
        • preterm labor
      • modalities
        • indomethacin
      • complications
        • closure of ductus arteriosus
          • monitor with fetal echocardiograph with Doppler
          • closure resolves within 24 hours of discontinuing indomethacin
  • Surgical
    • transabdominal amniocentesis
      • indication
        • polyhydramnios
          • maternal discomfort
          • preterm labor
      • complications
        • placental abruption
        • fetal maternal hemorrhage
        • fetal pneumothorax
        • risk of infection
    • transcervical amnioinfusion
      • indications
        • oligohydramnios
          • to improve detection of fetal structural anomalies
          • to prevent serious complications if severe
        • short-term improvement
      • complications
        • amniotic fluid embolism
        • maternal respiratory distress
    • delivery at 36-38 weeks 
      • indications
        • idiopathic olighydramnios
  • Oligohydramnios
    • chest wall fixation
    • pulmonary hypoplasia
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