Low Amniotic Fluid, Is It Dangerous?

Low Amniotic Fluid, Is It Dangerous?

There are a few conditions which can be thought as dangerous for you and your baby during pregnancy. However, is low amniotic fluid considered as one of them?

This is a typical condition which can be experienced especially by those who have flown past their due date. It’s a way of saying that your baby is ready to make his big debut.

However, when it occurs in the middle of pregnancy, things can get a little confusing. Worriness starts to crawl out from the thought of losing your baby and most people would start to freak out.

This article would explain about low amniotic fluid which affects pregnant women.

My doctor said I have low amniotic fluid. What does that mean?

Oligohydramnios or low amniotic fluid is a relatively common condition. It’s diagnosed when a pregnancy yields a lower amount of amniotic fluid relative to your baby gestational age.

This particular fluid plays an important role in providing cushion and allowing your baby to grow and move.

It also prevents your baby from compressing their own umbilical cord against the uterine wall. 

Initially this fluid consists of water which originated from the mother’s body. 

As the time goes by and your baby’s urinary system has developed, most of the amniotic fluid is made up from their own urine.

This is why it’s important to monitor your amniotic fluid level. Low amniotic fluid can indicate some problems related to your baby’s urinary system.

Symptoms which can indicates low amniotic fluid

low amniotic fluid

It’s important to note that not every woman knows they had low amniotic fluid. In fact the majority of them don’t feel anything until they are diagnosed during the weekly prenatal checkup.

This is why it’s important for you to comply with your scheduled prenatal checkups. During the examination, there are a few significant physical findings that could indicate you have this problem.

  1. You are not gaining enough weight
  2. Foetal heart rate suddenly drops
  3. Relative to gestational age, your uterus measures less than what it is supposed to
  4. Ultrasound scan confirms you have low amniotic fluid
  5. There are minimal foetal activity
  6. Some women experienced leaking from their vagina

Why do I have low amniotic fluid during pregnancy?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact cause pertaining to why you have low amniotic fluid.

Sometimes, after amniocentesis (a procedure to check abnormalities), you can experience leaking as a complication. Regardless, it is not always clear as to why women would be diagnosed with low amniotic fluid.

There are a few rare occasion which eventually cause low amniotic fluid such as:

  1. There are some problems with your baby’s urinary system since low amniotic fluid could indicate they are not peeing much.
  2. Early separation of placenta from the uterine wall during pregnancy or abruptio placenta
  3. One of the high blood pressure medication’s side effects.
  4. Mothers who have preexisting diabetes mellitus or high blood pressure.
  5. Poor foetal growth.
  6. Birth defects.
  7. Premature rupture of membranes.

How common is this condition?

low amniotic fluid

The incidence of this condition would depend on whether the woman is preterm or post term.

For preterm pregnancy the estimated risk of getting low amniotic fluid diagnosis is quite low, approximately 4 percent. 

Those who enter the third trimester have a much higher risk to be diagnosed with this condition. It can be normal, however, if the decrement is too significant, it may warrant further investigation.

For women who are overdue, the risk increased 3 times to approximately 12%. Towards the end of pregnancy, the level of amniotic fluid is expected to decrease. 

That’s why low amniotic fluid commonly occurs among post date women.

Will this condition affect my baby/pregnancy?

Low amniotic fluid diagnosis during the third trimester doesn’t seem to impose much risk for most women.

They could progress as usual but if the level is too low, that could signify a problem that would affect your future management.

If there isn’t much amniotic fluid for the baby to float around, there is a slight risk of umbilical cord constriction during birth to happen.

This is why some women would proceed with caeserean section to minimise danger.

Women who were diagnosed with low amniotic fluid during the first or second trimester usually have a much poor prognosis.

Some complications that could arise are birth defect, miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.

What should I do if I’m diagnosed with low amniotic fluid?

amniotic fluid
Close-up Of Doctor Moving Ultrasound Probe On Pregnant Woman’s Stomach In Hospital.

In the long term, there hasn’t been any proven remedies that can treat low amniotic fluid. However, there are a few steps that you could have taken to boost your amniotic in a relatively short term.

Some of them are:

  1. Drink plenty of fluid.
  2. If the condition endangers either you or your baby, you will given an early delivery option especially if you are at least 36 weeks.
  3. Get a lot of rest and reduce any form of physical activity.
  4. If low amniotic fluid is caused by problems related to your baby urinary tract, foetal surgery may be offered.
  5. During labour, amnioinfusion can be carried out. This is a procedure which involved a transfusion of saline solution into the uterine cavity by using a catheter.
  6. You will be admitted for close monitoring. 

Can low amniotic fluid be prevented?

There hasn’t been any proof yet. However, it’s important for you to state clearly to your doctor regarding your medical history. Some of them might be linked to this particular condition such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

Comply to your regular prenatal appointment to allow your foetus being monitored by your doctor. Ultrasound investigation can be a useful tool to diagnose low amniotic fluid condition. 

But don’t worry too much. Most women who were diagnosed usually have healthy pregnancies. You might want to inquire as much information as you can from your doctor so don’t forget to raise your concern.

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