Amniotic pressure was measured in 49 pregnancies with abnormal quantities of amniotic fluid. Among 17 with polyhydramnios, the pressure was always above the normal mean for gestation and exceeded the upper limit of normal in nine. In polyhydramnios, amniotic pressure correlated positively with the depth of the deepest pool (r=0.65, P=.04) and negatively with fetal PO2 (r=-0.57, P=.03) and pH (r=-0.56, P=.04). Amniotic pressure was raised in all those with a deepest pool of greater than 15 cm, and was normal in all with a deepest pool less than 15 cm. Amniotic pressure fell significantly with drainage of amniotic fluid in those with raised pressure (mean 12.7 mmHg, 95% confidence interval 7.0-18.3; P=.002) but not in those with normal pressure (mean 0.3, 95% confidence interval -3.2 to +3.9; P ~ .82). Restoration of normal amniotic pressure in one pregnancy was accompanied by marked improvement in fetal acid-base status. Among 24 pregnancies with severe oligohydramnios, amniotic pressure was always below the normal mean, falling below the lower limit of normal in eight; whereas in another eight pregnancies with mild/moderate oligohydramnios, amniotic pressure was scattered evenly within the normal range. Amnioinfusion of 55-500 mL of normal saline in cases of severe oligohydramnios led to a significant rise in pressure (4.7 mmHg, 95% confidence interval 3.5-5.9; P<.0001). We conclude that amniotic pressure is high in polyhydramnios and low in oligohydramnios. Pressure monitoring may be beneficial during amnioinfusion and therapeutic amniocentesis.
(C) 1990 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists