Dealing with Polyhydramnios (Extra Amniotic Fluid During Pregnancy)

You know that point when pregnancy stops being fun or feeling cute? Like when your belly is so big you can no longer wear the full panel maternity leggings (because they only cover half of your belly)! Or when your at-home attire is limited to your husband’s big t-shirts and a pair of maternity sweatpants that you have had to cut the waist band to fit into?  Yep I’m there!

I went to the doctor today for my 34 week OB appointment and learned my belly is measuring at 43 weeks pregnant!! You may be wondering “is that even possible?” I’ve always had a bigger pregnant belly being short-waisted, but this is OFF THE CHARTS. But when you have a condition called polyhydramnios it’s actually pretty common.

Poly-what???? You probably only know of the term polyhydramnios if a) you’re in the medical field or b) you’re pregnant and recently diagnosed. Basically, what this means is you are pregnant and have more amniotic fluid than what’s considered normal. Oh and your belly is large AF. At least it is in my case!!

I actually had this with my 3rd pregnancy.  It was mild, they ruled out everything negative and my only side effect was a big belly.  Which is pretty normal for me.

This time (race against time phrase) around though, even though my levels are just (just in case meaning) above what is normal…it’s been so much harder to deal with. Not only do I look and measure over a full month ahead, but I have a hard time breathing. I’m constantly short of breath. When I first became pregnant, I was active, and exercised 5 days per week. I was walking around 4 miles per day, and felt really good. At about the 26 week mark, I could barely get in 2 miles without having to stop several times. Now just walking up the stairs hurts my chest. It’s crazy. I hate it.

Sleep is pretty much non-existent. Having all of this extra fluid makes my belly so large and heavy, even propping a pillow underneath doesn’t help much. Truly the only time I sleep well is when it all catches up with me and I’m overly exhausted. Most of the time this is during the most inconvenient times (after dinner when my kids need me and I find myself falling asleep on the couch). I feel so guilty, I’m 100% sure they miss non-pregnant mommy.  Actually my four year old told me he wished I didn’t have a baby in my belly the other day. Ahhh the guilt.

When people ask how I’m feeling…most of the time I find it’s just easier to say “good”. Sort of a hassle to go into it. I only do if I get the rude comments about how huge my belly is. I was at Home Goods the other day checking out…super pumped about my finds and the cashier seriously wouldn’t stop. “Wow…do you realize how huge your belly is?” (with the most disgusted look on her face). I politely said yes, and tried to explain I have extra amniotic fluid. She kept going…”But I mean, seriously it’s so big…Do you realize that?”. Ummm… duh yes…I just told you why. And then the dreaded…”Are you sure you aren’t having twins?”.  Let’s just say I was not very polite with my response back to her!

Having extra amniotic fluid puts me at risk for pre-term labor. This is my fourth child, and I have NEVER gone early. Like not even one day. So I didn’t take (take with a grain of salt idiom) this too seriously. However last weekend we had a bit of a scare.  I woke up Saturday morning and started getting us all ready for my son’s basketball game.  At about 8:30am I started having contractions (which felt like Braxton Hicks at first). However, they didn’t go away, got stronger and more painful…and felt like one constant contraction. They persisted thru his game and after about 2 hours I knew something was wrong. I left the game early, and drove myself to the hospital.

Turns out I was having contractions 2 minutes apart consistently by the time I arrived. At almost 33 weeks pregnant, this is of course way too early. They gave me nifedipine to slow the contractions and kept me there for monitoring.  It took awhile, but after 4 hours the contractions stopped and they sent me home. I laid low most of the weekend, which is pretty hard for me. I’m one to constantly tidy and clean. On Sunday I decided to run a few errands, started having contractions and had to come home and lay down. I guess I’m just going to have to force myself to take it easy.

Resting in bed has giving me plenty of time to google the term polyhydramnios 100 times and I have tried a lot of the things recommended to help with this. If you’re pregnant and in my same boat…here’s what I have found works so far:

Warm baths:  It’s a temporary fix – but feeling lightweight is amazing and it relaxes your muscles. I love (fall in love synonym) doing this before bedtime, and it does help me to fall asleep faster.

Drinking lots of water.  I’m talking 3 liters per day. It helps to prevent the contractions and just makes you feel better. It also helps with pregnancy related constipation…because who wants that discomfort on top of polyhydramnios?

Sitting with Feet Propped Up:  The standard response from anyone on what to do for any pregnancy symptom lol. But yes it does work and gives you an excuse to read a magazine, online shop, or scroll your phone!

Yoga Stretches:  Find a good prenatal yoga video and do a few of the exercises. Helps a lot with back pain. It’s about the only workout I can fit in these days. Even 5-10 minutes makes a difference.

Heartburn Relief:  Eat as healthy as you can…but sometimes that doesn’t even matter. As much as I didn’t want to take another med, I’m now taking Prilosec every night…and it’s a Godsend.

So I have 5 more weeks to go. I always say time flies, except when you’re pregnant. We are so busy and basketball season is starting so I am hoping that will help it to go by fast.  The days seem to go by fast, but nights are LONGGG. If you’re in my same boat. HANG IN THERE. I try and focus on the fact the end is nearer than I think.  But trust me its tough! My advice, which is easier said than done, is to take his as an excuse to take it easy and just REST!

Are you currently dealing with Polyhydramnios? If so, what has worked for you to help with the discomfort?






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