Hayley (42) is expecting her first child. She is best known for her roles as Del Dingle in Emmerdale, Andrea Beckett in Coronation Street and as Calista in Shameless. Tamaddon won the fifth series of Dancing on Ice on 28 March 2010. She’s recently been diagnosed with Polyhydramnios and I recently caught up with her in order to spread awareness of this pregnancy condition.
Thank you so much for talking to me Hayley. You recently posted that you had been diagnosed with polyhydramnios. Can you briefly explain what this is?
Polyhydramnios is a condition where there is too much amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.
What are the symptoms of polyhydramnios? How was this diagnosed? What symptoms are you experiencing?
I knew something felt odd at about 28 weeks. I was big, bigger than others at the same point in their pregnancies. I know you shouldn’t compare, but I couldn’t do as much as my other pregnant friends. I was struggling to breathe and couldn’t walk very far; it was really getting me down. At 31 weeks I was measured and my midwife said I think we should scan you as you’re measuring quite big. The scan showed a large amount of fluid surrounding the baby. This is called polyhydramnios. It’s quite rare only 1-2 % of pregnant ladies get it. It’s sometimes linked to gestational diabetes but my test came back clear for that. All the tests showed that my baby was healthy so that was the main thing. There wasn’t really a reason it was happening to me, it was just something I was going to have to cope with. It’s hard to breathe, almost like having panic attacks and I can’t walk very far. I was told from 31 weeks that my waters could break at any time as I was so big! I’ve also been warned that it’s likely to be a flood rather than a trickle! Let’s hope I’m not in M&S at the time.
Symptoms can include: These can be common issues in pregnancy and are not necessarily caused by Polyhydroamnois, please consult your midwife if you have any concerns.
- Feeling anxious
- Struggling to breath
- Have limited mobility and unable to walk far because of breathlessness and the weight you’re carrying
- Abdominal pain from the stretching of your stomach and the pressure
- Worse constipation than usual in pregnancy
- Have frequent Braxton hicks
- Your bump may be very sensitive
What is the recommended treatment for this condition? What have you been advised to do?
There isn’t really any treatment just to rest as much as possible and to hope the fluid reduces as the pregnancy continues; although mine hasn’t. It’s actually increased. It’s caused me to be in quite a lot of pain for the past 8 weeks. I’ve done a lot of crying especially in the middle of the night but I’m dealing with it. I guess the lack of sleep is just preparing me for what’s to come!
Depending on the severity of the condition midwives/doctors may provide make other suggestions with regards to treatment.
I hate to ask this as you are 38 weeks pregnant, however with the need to raise awareness, is there a danger to yourself or the baby? Are there any precautions put in place during the birth?
It’s absolutely fine, I’m happy to talk about it. Luckily for me, there is no danger to my baby, but it isn’t always the case and a lot of ladies have a lot more complications than I have. It is common with Polyhydramnios that they may choose to bring the baby early either by induction or c section. No additional plans are needed.
As I mentioned, in some cases there are complications which are high risk to both mother and baby. It is important that you have a conversation with your midwife at your appointments to understand these complications/risks.
Does this condition prevent you from having the birth you ‘want’? I totally understand we don’t always get the birth we want, what I mean is does this restrict things such as a water birth, hypnobirthing etc.
Yes, unfortunately, I wanted a water birth but that’s not going to happen now. It really doesn’t matter though as long as the baby arrives safely that’s all that matters.
Are you being monitored more regularly throughout the rest of the pregnancy? What does this involve?
Yes, I have had scans every 2 weeks and I’m monitored on the baby machine each time I go to see the midwives.
Do you have any advice to other mums who may be experiencing the same condition or have been recently diagnosed? Is there much support out there?
Ask for scans at least every 2 weeks to put your mind at rest. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Try not to google it; worst thing I did!! If you’re struggling at home make sure you ask for help from friends and family and get as much rest as you can.
Here is a link to the NHS website with information on Polyhydramnios.
Interview by Danni, Mummy Social Team