Low fluid pregnancy or oligohydramnios is a health condition in which amniotic fluid level in the amniotic sac gets reduced during pregnancy. This condition can pose significant health risks to both mother and baby and cause complications like premature labor, fetal malnourishment and cramping.
By cushioning the umbilical cord, amniotic fluid provides the baby overall support and protection from physical trauma and infection. The liquid cushion is also responsible for providing nutrients, hormones, space and fluid to help the baby grow.
Low amniotic fluid, particularly in the first trimester, can cause serious risk to the baby.
Symptoms Of Low Amniotic Fluid In Pregnancy
The most significant sign of low fluid pregnancy is watery discharge from vagina. The discharge might be manifested by a slow discharge of the liquid or heavy release, depending on the extent of rupture in the membranes. If the watery discharge is very low, the condition may go unnoticed initially. Things might take a fatal turn if patients with chronic high blood pressure undergo this condition.
In case of low fluid pregnancy, expecting mothers may have relatively small shape of belly. Apart from it, other signs that may drop hints of low amniotic fluid level include lack of movements felt during baby’s ‘kicking’ and amniotic fluid index (AFI) measuring less than 5cm.
Causes Of Low Fluid During Pregnancy
Prime cause of inadequate amniotic fluid is premature rupture developed in the amniotic membrane. Premature rupture or tear to the amniotic membrane may be caused by an external trauma, infection or complexity related to placenta.
In some cases of pregnancy, adequate fluid formation does not take place due to complexity in the kidney of the developing fetus.
Sometimes, the placenta fails to provide required nutrients and blood, causing slow growth of the baby and less production of fluid. High blood pressure can also reduce nutrients flow to the baby leading to low amniotic fluid level.
Expecting women with type 2 or gestational diabetes can also contract the disorder due to imbalance of electrolytes and blood sugar in their body. This imbalance sometimes makes the mothers dehydrated causing inadequate fluid formation.
Treatment For Low Amniotic Fluid In Pregnancy
Treatment for low fluid pregnancy largely depends on gestational age. In case pregnancy has not yet achieved its full term, pregnant women will be put under close medical observation. Doctors would run contraction stress and non-stress tests to monitor baby’s movements. In case of full term pregnancy, doctors mostly recommend delivery to avoid further complications.
Ideally the treatment involves pushing fluid injection through amniocentesis. This step is undertaken if the baby is not developed enough to be delivered. It is a temporary amniotic fluid replacement therapy which helps doctors to see fetal anatomy for further diagnosis and treatment.
In some cases, maternal re-hydration through intravenous fluids or oral fluids can also bring about significant improvement in amniotic fluid levels.