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How is polyhydramnios diagnosed?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Diagnosis of polyhydramnios is based on the pregnant woman presenting with characteristic clinical signs. The most common is increased abdominal size, disproportionate for gestational age or rate of maternal weight gain. Uterine size that outpaces gestational age, shiny abdominal skin with stria, as well as complaints of dyspnea and heaviness in the chest are the common clinical presentation. Based on clinical presentation, an ultrasound will be performed to calculate the amniotic fluid index (AFI). An AFI or 25 centimeters or greater is diagnostic of polyhydramnios.

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Health care professionals should be evaluating the size of your uterus at each checkup during pregnancy. If they suspect polyhydramnios they will increase the frequency of checkups and/or call for an ultrasound. Polyhydramnios is ultimately diagnosed on the basis of the amniotic fluid index, which measures pockets of fluid from the ultrasound. Excess fluid qualifies as polyhydramnios when present in double the normal amount (approximately two liters instead of one.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.