Low Amniotic Fluid

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Low Amniotic Fluid

What is Amniotic Fluid?

The amniotic fluid is a part of a baby’s life support system that protects the baby and assists in the development of the muscles, lungs, limbs and digestive system. This fluid is produced soon after the amniotic sac forms, i.e., about 12 days’ post-conception. It is first made up of water which is provided by the mother, and by about 20 weeks the foetal urine becomes the primary substance. As the baby grows, she or he will move in the womb with the help of this fluid, and in the second trimester, the baby will begin breathing and swallowing the amniotic fluid.  Sometimes, this fluid may measure too high or too low. If the measurement of the fluid is too low, it is called oligohydramnios; while, if it is too high, it is called polyhydramnios.

What is Low Amniotic Fluid?

Oligohydramnios, commonly known as low amniotic fluid is a condition in which, a pregnant woman has too little amniotic fluid. While you are pregnant, doctors can measure the amount of amniotic fluid present through various methods such as deep pocket measurements or the amniotic fluid index (AFI) evaluation. If the AFI shows the fluid as less than 5 centimetres, the absence of the fluid pocket 2-3 cm in depth, or the fluid volume of less than 500 ml at about 32-36 weeks’ gestation, then oligohydramnios is suspected.

The condition of low amniotic fluid can occur at any time during pregnancy. However, it is most common during the last trimester. If a woman has passed her due date by two weeks or more, she may be at a high risk for this condition as the fluids can decrease by half, after she reaches 42 weeks’ gestation.

What Causes Low Amniotic Fluid?

A few low amniotic fluid causes include:

  • Congenital Disabilities: This includes problems with the development of the kidneys or the urinary tract that could cause lesser production of urine, leading to lower levels of amniotic fluid.
  • Leaking or a Rupture of the Membranes: This refers to a gush of fluid or a slow trickle of fluid that occurs because of a tear in the membrane. A premature rupture of the membrane can also result in lower levels of amniotic fluid.
  • Problems with the Placenta: If a woman’s placenta is not able to provide enough blood and nutrients for the baby, the baby may stop recycling the fluid.
  • Post-Date Pregnancy: This refers to a pregnancy that goes beyond 42 weeks. In such cases, a woman can have low amniotic fluid levels that could be a result of the decline in the placental function.
  • Maternal Complications: Factors such as hypertension, preeclampsia, maternal dehydration, diabetes, and chronic hypoxia can affect the levels of the amniotic fluid.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Low Amniotic Fluid?

Several signs and symptoms may lead to suspicion of low levels of amniotic fluid. They include:

  • Leaking fluid
  • Lack of feeling the movement of your baby
  • Small measurements
  • An amniotic fluid index of 5cm or less.

How to Treat Low Amniotic Fluid?

Sometimes, low amniotic fluid can be treated by replacing fluid through maternal oral or an IV hydration; while, in some cases, amnioinfusion is used. If low levels of amniotic fluid are seen in a post-term pregnancy, most doctors will recommend inducing labour.

Apollo Experience

At Apollo Clinic, our Obstetrics Department understands the importance of your health, especially during pregnancy; and provides you with the support you need. With world-class services and a team of knowledgeable obstetricians, we promise to help you tackle the condition of low amniotic fluid with ease. Offering you the best consultation, diagnosis and treatment for all your health conditions, we assure you a healthy life.

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