Amniotic fluid is the water-like substance that surrounds your baby during pregnancy. Contained by the amniotic sack, amniotic fluids enables your baby to swim around and change positions. It also regulates baby's temperature and cushions him or her from rough movements in the "outside world", as well as infections. It is important to have neither too much nor too little amniotic fluid, as both indicate complications. We already wrote about causes and complications of too much amniotic fluid a while back. What happens if you have a low level of amniotic fluid, also known as oligohydramnios?
Some indications of oligohydramnios are measuring small for the duration of your pregnancy, leaking amniotic fluid, and feeling hardly any fetal movement. Women who have chronic hypertension, diabetes, or have developed preeclampsia are at an increased risk of developing oligohydramnios. Those who have gone past their due date have a higher chance of having low amniotic fluid levels as well. Low levels of amniotic fluid can represent a serious problem. Leaking membranes can cause an infection and take away the protection your baby needs. Some chronic medical problems can lead to oligohydramnios, and birth defects in babies also sometimes cause this to happen. Those with placental complications such as a partial placental abruption are also more likely to have this condition, along with women who are expecting twins.
So, what is the recommended treatment for oligohydramnios?
Treatment varies on the length of your pregnancy and the amount of amniotic fluid you have left. The cause also matters in the decision making process for treatment. If you are nearly at term, you might well be a good candidate for a labor induction. If you are earlier on in your pregnancy, careful monitoring, possible bed rest, and a possible amnioinfusion may be other treatment options.