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J Perinat Med. 1998;26(5):371-7.

Prevalence of polyhydramnios in the third trimester in a population screened by first and second trimester ultrasonography.

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  • 1Academic Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Homerton Hospital, London, U.K.



To determine the prevalence of polyhydramnios in a routine antenatal population, in which first and second trimester ultrasound screening for fetal abnormality had been performed and to examine the outcome in these pregnancies.


A retrospective analytical survey of all obstetric ultrasound examinations performed in a university teaching hospital over a thirty-six month period. Polyhydramnios was defined as either the measurement of a single deepest pool of liquor > 8 cm (AFV) or according to the amniotic fluid index, the sum of a four quadrant measurement > 24 cm (AFI). Using the stated definitions, polyhydramnios was diagnosed in 37 women, 16 of whom had a raised AFI. The main outcomes of interest included the mode of onset of labour and mode of delivery (rates of spontaneous and induced labour, cesarean section deliveries), birth weight, presence or absence of fetal anomalies, and the perinatal outcome.


The prevalence of polyhydramnios in this study is lower (0.15% AFI > 24 cm and 0.36% AFV > 8 cm) than in previous studies. The association between polyhydramnios, maternal diabetes mellitus (10.8%), fetal abnormalities (5.4%) and fetal macrosomia (10.8%) was also lower than in past reports. There was a better overall fetal outcome compared with previous studies and no perinatal deaths were seen.


In this study, the prevalence of polyhydramnios in the third trimester was lower than in previous studies, as well as being associated with a better prognosis. This may have been the result of a combination of several factors. These include the introduction of multi-level ultrasound screening for fetal abnormality, and the improved care of diabetic women, and mothers with rhesus iso-immunisation.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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