Definition

Oligohydramnios is a lower than normal level of amniotic fluid. This fluid supports and protects the baby. It also helps with growth. Low levels can lead to problems for the baby and mother.

Fetus in Utero, Amniotic Fluid
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Causes

The cause may not be known.

Some causes are:

  • Birth defects
  • Problems with the fetus's urinary system
  • A problem with the placenta
  • A tear in the amniotic sac
  • Pregnancy that lasts past the due date
  • Problems in the mother, such as fluid loss, diabetes, or high blood pressure
  • Problems from some medicines

Risk Factors

The risk may be higher with:

  • Pregnancy past the due date
  • Health problems in the mother
  • Growth problems in the baby

Symptoms

The mother may not have symptoms. The mother may notice a gush of fluid from the vagina. The fluid may also leak out slowly.

The mother’s belly may be smaller than it should be.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about any symptoms and health history. An exam will be done.

An ultrasound will be done to view the womb and fetus.

A measure of the amniotic fluid will be done. It will help to find out if the level is not normal.

Treatment

The doctor will watch the mother and baby closely. The mother will need to drink more fluids. Tests will also be done to make sure the fluid level does not drop more. This may be all that is needed.

Some women may need:

  • Amnioinfusion—fluid is injected into the space around the baby
  • Induced birth after 34 weeks

There will be more prenatal visits and tests than normal. It is very important to keep these appointments.

Prevention

Oligohydramnios cannot always be prevented. Prenatal care may help to find problems before they happen. Make sure to get proper care before, during, and after pregnancy.

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