Increased Amniotic Fluid and Enlarged Fetal Stomach @ 36 weeks




Around 33 weeks I was told I had a slightly increased level of Amniotic fluid - it was at 27 when the cut off is 25 for normal.  The specialist I am seeing was not overly concerned and told me it was likely to be ideopathic.

At 36 weeks we went for a growth ultrasound and he also told us that the baby's stomach was slightly enlarged and that the level of fluid had increased slightly as well now at 29.  He didn't seem to be concerned but did tell us that it could mean either that the baby might have a blockage of some sort (which could be corrected at birth) or that it could mean absolutely nothing. He said he could go either way on this one based on what he was seeing.

I am trying not to freak out too much but I must admit I am a little concerned for my baby boy.  The doctor did mention that it was pretty late in the game for any genetic anomolies to be showing up and the fact that the increase in amniotic fluid didn't show up till later makes him think it's likely to be nothing but I am still worried

I'm just wondering how common it is to see something like this and to have it be nothing.  I am also concerned that the baby could have some chromosomal defect that wasn't detected even though we had all the sequential screening and were placed in the low risk category as well as a lot of ultrasounds throughout the pregnancy with nothing showing up till now.

I realize there's nothing I can do about any of this at this point but I am just looking for some reassurance.




I'm with the doctor.  Chances are good that this is just a variation of normal if everything else is checking out.  Hopefully you have been eating your 100 grams of protein/day, which helps to build a strong bag for the fluid.  With a good bag, spontaneous rupture occurs at 8 cm on average,  by which time the baby is wedged into the top of the birth canal in most cases.  This is helpful in preventing a big gush when the waters break, which can pull out the cord with the water if there is lots of water and the baby is still floating around in it, high in the uterus.  

If the water breaks at home and comes with a big gush, and you suspect the cord has come out with the water, *immediately* drop to your hands and knees, put your head low and your tush high, call an ambulance, and refuse to get out of that position until you are in an operating room.  Unlikely, but just sayin'...  

Alternatively, if you are admitted with your bag of waters intact and someone says they want to artificially break it, be sure there is a good reason.  If so, hopefully the provider will "needle" the bag (make lots of tiny pricks so the fluid is released slowly, like through a sieve), rather than using the usual amnihook, which can cause a big gush.  My point is that this situation is very manageable, even if it is not common, and hopefully will turn out to be no big deal.

Cynthia B. Flynn, CNM, PhD

Principle, FlynnCNM Birth Center Consulting

Past President, American Association of Birth Centers

Expert Midwife,