Oligohydramnios

OLIGOHYDRAMNIOS fetus

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

What Is Amniotic Fluid?

A woman becomes pregnant when her ovum is fertilized and when this fertilized ovum becomes firmly implanted within the uterus. The embryo draws upon nutrients and oxygen supplied by the mother’s body. It will continue to depend on the mother’s body for all its needs throughout its gestation period of roughly nine months after which it is ready to be born.

The developing fetus’s body communicates directly with the mother’s through a set of vital structures, namely the placenta and the umbilical cord. During gestation, the fetus floats in sac full of fluid. This structure is known as the amniotic sac and the liquid it contains is called amniotic fluid.

What Does It Do?

OLIGOHYDRAMNIOSThis clear, slightly yellowish fluid helps to keep the baby safe from mechanical shocks. It also helps to maintain a stable thermal environment around your baby, protecting it from fluctuations in temperature. As the baby floats in this liquid medium, it inhales and even gulps down some fluid which then passes through its system and back out into the amniotic sac. This can be considered practice for actual breathing which will be initiated as soon its head emerges from the birth canal.

Antibodies present in the fluid also help to protect the fetus from infections. This fluid also gives the growing baby freedom to move about and practice various movements. Since the umbilical cord is free to float in the liquid, it is less likely to become compressed or constricted.

The composition of the fluid changes as pregnancy progresses but it generally contains variable quantities of water, antibodies, electrolytes, nutrients, hormones, fetal wastes and even some foetal cells. The amniotic sac develops a few days after conception and safely encases the fetus until it is ready to be born. When the baby is ready to be born, the amniotic sac ruptures and releases its liquid contents. This is what is referred to as ‘water breaking’.

What Is Oligohydramnios?

At around the beginning of the second trimester, that is one-third of the way into the pregnancy, there would be around 50ml of liquid within the amniotic sac. As the pregnancy progresses and the fetus grows larger, the volume of this liquid increases. Normally, at its maximum, there will be between 800 to 1000ml of liquid within the amniotic sac. This tends to drop slightly at the end of the third-trimester approaches. Having the right quantity of amniotic fluid is vital for ensuring normal and healthy development of the baby and preventing complications.

Sometimes, there can be problems with the amniotic sac and fluid prior to completion of the pregnancy. Small amounts of the fluid may leak out or there may be too much of it. When there is too much amniotic fluid, this is known as polyhydramnios. On the other hand, if there is too little of it, the condition is known as oligohydramnios. Oligohydramnios is detected in nearly 4% of all pregnancies.

Why Does This Happen?

OLIGOHYDRAMNIOS pregnancyThere can be a few different reasons for oligohydramnios. For instance, if the mother is pregnant with multiple fetuses simultaneously, as in the case of twins or triplets, she may develop oligohydramnios. A good portion of the amniotic fluid is actually composed of fetal urine. Therefore, if the fetus has any kidney-related problem or lack of renal development, their volume of amniotic fluid may be significantly diminished.Here are some known risk factors for having too little amniotic fluid:

  • Rupture of amniotic membranes, allowing the fluid to leak out.
  • Placental insufficiency.
  • Multiple pregnancies. In other words, being pregnant with more than one fetus at a time.
  • Renal problems in the fetus.
  • Certain chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus.
  • Medications such as certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Post-term pregnancy.

If the mother has any of the following conditions, she might have a higher than normal risk for developing oligohydramnios:

  • Dehydration.
  • Diabetes or gestational diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Infections in the uterus.
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus.

Will There Be Any Noticeable Symptoms?

Most probably not. If you have too little fluid in your amniotic sac, it is not very likely for you to become aware of this unless tests are conducted. In case there is a rupture in your amniotic sac and the fluid is leaking out, you may notice a wetness between your legs. Sometimes, it is also possible to tell from the size of the pregnant woman’s belly. If her belly is significantly smaller than expected during the third trimester, this may be an indication of oligohydramnios. However, this is only a very rough and somewhat arbitrary guideline and cannot serve as conclusive proof. The best way to find out for sure is to schedule a visit with your doctor and undergo tests that will help both you and your doctor monitor the progress of your pregnancy.

What Are Some Possible Complications Of Having Too Little Amniotic Fluid?

OLIGOHYDRAMNIOS fetusThis problem can develop during any stage of the pregnancy but it is often observed in instances of pregnancies extending beyond the expected due date. Oligohydramnios carries a risk of long-term deficits and pregnancy complications, especially if this remains unrelieved through the final trimester. The general observation is that the sooner in the pregnancy that oligohydramnios sets in, the poorer is the eventual outlook.

Here are some probable critical outcomes:

  • Miscarriage.
  • Impaired fetal growth.
  • Pregnancy complications. In order to ensure the best possible outcome, the mother may be advised to undergo delivery via Caesarean section.
  • The baby may be born too early. This is known as pre-term birth or premature birth.
  • It is also possible for stillbirth to occur.
  • Alternatively, the baby may be born with congenital defects and abnormalities.

How Is This Detected?

The quantity of amniotic fluid is expressed by a value known as the amniotic fluid index or AFI. Mainly, abnormalities during pregnancy are detected through ultrasound tests. This will also reveal whether fetal development is normal and proceeding ‘on course’. If abnormalities are found, additional procedures such as amniocentesis (extracting a small sample of the amniotic fluid for testing) may be conducted. Normal tests during pregnancy will also examine the mother for signs of complications such as gestational diabetes or hypertension. Additionally, if the doctor suspects that the mother is suffering from an undiagnosed problem like lupus, specialized tests can help to confirm this.

Treatment and prevention

Once it has been identified that a pregnant woman has too little amniotic fluid, she will continue to be monitored from then on until the completion of her pregnancy. The treatment method will be determined based on the cause for the problem. In case the mother is dehydrated, this can be effectively remedied by drinking more water. It is also possible to temporarily boost the volume of the fluid by means of a procedure known as amnioinfusion. This involves actually injecting saline liquid into the amniotic sac. However, if oligohydramnios is detected close to the time of delivery, the best solution might actually be to deliver the baby. Often, this is done via Caesarean section, in order to avoid further risks.

The best option to treat low amniotic fluid in a 36 to 37-week pregnant female is by delivering the baby. In case the pregnancy is less than 36 weeks, the healthcare provider evaluates the health of the fetus and the pregnancy is monitored with fetal ultrasounds. Additionally, the pregnant female is advised to drink more fluids in order to prevent dehydration. Low amniotic fluid during labor can be treated by placing fluid in the amniotic sac- a procedure known as amnioinfusion. A catheter is placed in the cervix during labor and saline is infused into the amniotic sac.

Prevention of oligohydramnios is mainly by evaluating the development of the fetus regularly (so as to diagnose fetus health issues at an early stage) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet. Keeping a check on the pregnant female’s health conditions is equally important.

Observed in roughly 8% of pregnant women, oligohydramnios is diagnosed by checking the AFI or amniotic fluid index. When this reading falls below 5 cm, it is indicative of oligohydramnios. Since the amniotic fluid is necessary for muscle and organ development, less than adequate amniotic fluid could mean a series of complications for the fetus. The severity of these complications is comparatively higher if this is diagnosed in the earlier periods of pregnancy
Since there is a deficiency of amniotic fluid, the pressure inside the womb is not properly maintained for fetal growth. This could lead to compression of fetal organs and muscles and the baby might be born with severe birth defects.
If detected in the latter half of the pregnancy, it can lead to low birth weight (less than 10th percentile of the gestational weight), preterm birth, and complications during delivery.
Labor complications including umbilical cord compression and meconium-stained fluid are also observed in cases of low amniotic fluid. Meconium stained fluid is an indicator that the baby is under stress as it is receiving very less oxygen supply. Additionally, growth restriction, limb contractions, under-developed lungs, etc are observed in the fetus associated with oligohydramnios.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Drink plenty of fluids during pregnancy. Sufficient liquid intake can prevent conditions such as dehydration, high blood pressure and PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes).
  • Take prenatal vitamins. These are essential for the healthy development of the fetus. The supplement should contain 4000 micrograms of folic acid that prevents birth defects in the developing fetus.
  • Keep a check on health conditions. Conditions such as diabetes, preeclampsia etc. can lead to complications during pregnancy and might risk the healthy development of the fetus.
Don'ts
  • Indulge in smoking. Nicotine in the cigarettes can cause low birth weight, problems with the placenta, PROM (Premature Rupture of Membranes) etc.
  • Neglect the importance of a healthy diet. A healthy diet can keep diabetes at bay and can help you gain healthy weight during pregnancy. The diet should incorporate a lot of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, lean meats etc.
  • Ignore conditions requiring immediate attention such as leaking of clear fluid from the vagina, heavy and non-stop bleeding from the vagina, contractions before the due date etc.

 

 

 

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Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
CERULOPLASMIN- triple marker
Triple Marker Test A triple marker test is an important prenatal test that is performed to detect the presence of chromosomal…
EMG electromyography
EMG- Electromyography EMG detects the presence, location, and extent of diseases that damage the nerves such motor neuron disease. Electromyography…
Hibiscus: Nourish your beauty and health with these vibrant blooms Hibiscus is a trumpet shaped flower found abundantly in tropical countries. It has been historically used for its…
Helicobacter pylori IGA
Helicobacter Pylori – IgA Test The H.pylori IgA test is a blood test used to identify the level of IgA antigen in the…
Goji berry: A traditional Chinese berry that packs the best of antioxidants Goji berry is an ancient berry that is considered to be power-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Which means…
amylase test
Amylase Test Amylase test is done by checking the level of this protein in the blood sample and also in…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Spinach: The ultimate way to boost health with this green superfood! Spinach is a green superfood that ranks high in both taste and nutrition. Read more to discover how…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
kefir bottle
Kefir: Top reasons why this probiotic drink should be consumed by you Yet another remarkable fermented food, kefir is a much healthier version of yogurt. These chewy white grains can…
Period sanitary napkin-menstruaion-blood-colors
Period blood – what it says about your health Your period blood color and consistency indicate what is happening in your body. Is your blood bright red…
vital organ diseases
Common diseases that could cripple your vital organs Brain, heart, kidney, lungs, and liver - these vital organs are indeed vital for your survival. However, these…
Fibromyalgia fatigue
HCG Diet: The dangers of using this diet to lose weight HCG is a natural hormone produced by both men and women that corresponds to fertility. But how is…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
cytomegalovirus iGG
Cytomegalovirus (CMV)- IgG Test The cytomegalovirus IgG is the immunoglobulin protein produced by our immune system when the body is infected by…
Milk Thistle skin
Milk Thistle: Find possible cures for fatal diseases in these purple blooms Milk thistle is well-known for treating liver conditions. However, did you know that it comes with a plethora…
Turner syndrome and infertility
Infertility profile (women) The infertility profile tests in women are conducted to form a complete picture of the hormonal balance and…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
Bronchoscopy procedure
Bronchoscopy Bronchoscopy is a procedure where in a scope is inserted into the lung pathway to observe any growth…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Tamarind: The top health benefits of this staple Asian ingredient Did you know this sweet and sour pulpy fruit does more than just add a tangy flavor to…
Echocardiogram
Echocardiography – ECHO Echocardiography (commonly known as ECHO) is an imaging modality (similar to ultrasonography) used to visualize the interior of…
creatinine
Creatinine Test The level of creatinine in the blood is a significant indicator of the health of your kidneys. This…
top 10 deadliest diseases
What are the top 10 deadliest diseases and what is causing them? What are the largest killers of human lives across the globe? Which diseases are the most fatal ones?…
Anti-Inflammatory foods: 18 foods to a disease-free you Anti-inflammatory foods are the foods which are known to reduce the inflammation as well as the pain from…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
beta hcg test
Beta hCG Test A Beta hCG test measures the level of human gonadotropin hormones present in the blood that is primarliy…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Dragon Fruit – Blessing from Nature’s Basket Dragon fruit is packed with nutrients but low on calories. It is the dream food that can help…
blood ketone test
Blood Ketone (D3HB) Test The Blood Ketone Test measures and monitors the levels of ketone in the blood which is usually performed…
Astaxanthin: Why experts believe it could be 550x more potent than vitamin E! What is astaxanthin and why is this new supplement on the block touted as the most powerful antioxidant…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
hidden causes obesity
8 hidden causes of obesity you probably didn’t know! Did you know that around 2 billion people worldwide are either overweight or obese? Are you too a…
C-Reactive Protein Test A CRP or c-reactive protein blood test is an important diagnostic tool used to determine the risk of…
understanding addiction
Addiction explained: An obsession that could cost you your life Is addiction a behavioral disorder? Or is it a chronic disease? How does addiction cause chemical and structural…
chloride test
Chloride Test A chloride test of the blood checks the level of chloride in body, an important factor governing the…
kidney stones
Kidney stones Kidney stones are solid substances made up of crystals. They can be of various sizes. Treatment depend on…
tonometry
Tonometry Tonometry uses a device called tonometer to measure the pressure inside the eye. This pressure is depends upon…
Juice Plus: Can you really replace actual fruits with pills?  Juice Plus supplements intend to fill nutritional gaps present in our daily diet. But how successful have they…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
The Shepherd's diet
Facts about the Shepherd’s diet Kristina Wilds promoted Shepherd's diet, a Christian-based diet that highlights Jesus Christ's diet as mentioned in the Bible.
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
colposcopy
Colposcopy Colposcopy is a simple, quick and non- invasive diagnostic tool to look closely inside the vulva, vagina, and…
Graston technique: A faster way to accelerate your rehabilitation after injury Graston technique is designed in such a way that any pain related to the soft tissue can be…
Vitamin K2: 8 reasons why you need this bone-building & cancer-fighting nutrient Vitamin K2 is claimed to be essential for your bone health, for reducing the risk of cancer, and…

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