Oligohydramnios is too little fluid in the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac is the “water bag” inside the womb that cushions and protects your baby. It also allows normal growth and development to occur. Normal amniotic fluid levels vary. The average volume during pregnancy is almost one liter at 36-37 weeks. Less than 10% of pregnant women develop oligohydramnios.
Low amniotic fluid can indicate a problem in the mother or the baby. It can also cause problems that vary depending on when in pregnancy oligohydramnios occurs.
Problems in the first half of pregnancy:
Problems in the second half of pregnancy:
Fetus in Utero, Amniotic Fluid
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There are many known causes of oligohydramnios. However, sometimes a specific cause cannot be found. Conditions that can cause oligohydramnios include:
Risk factors that increase your chance of getting oligohydramnios include:
Oligohydramnios usually does not cause women to have any symptoms. If the amniotic sac has a tear, you may notice a gush of fluid from the vagina. The fluid may leak out slowly causing constant wetness. Your doctor may also notice that your abdomen is smaller than expected for your gestational age.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. If you are not under the care of an obstetrician, you may be referred to one.
Your doctor may need your body fluids tested. This can be done with:
Your doctor may also need pictures of your uterus and fetus. This can be done with ultrasound .
Your doctor will monitor you and your baby closely to make sure the condition does not get worse and that the fetus remains healthy. You will probably have more frequent prenatal visits and regular ultrasound tests. It is very important to keep these appointments.
Treatment options include:
American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Pregnancy Association
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Low amniotic fluid levels: oligohydramnios. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/lowamnioticfluidoligohydramnios.htm Updated January 2007. Accessed December 18, 2012.
Prenatal ultrasound screening. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated November 30, 2012. Accessed December 18, 2012.
Last reviewed November 2012 by Andrea Chisholm
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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