What causes low amniotic fluid?

Low amniotic fluid can be caused by a number of different things.

· Birth defects - if the baby has developmental problems of the kidneys or urinary tract that could affect urine production.

· Placental problems - not enough blood and nutrients getting to the baby could cause the baby to stop recycling fluid.

· Leaking or rupture of the membranes - whether a gush or a trickle, it can reduce the levels of fluid.

· Past due date - gestation past 42 weeks can affect fluid levels and cause slowing of placental function.

· Maternal complications - preeclampsia, diabetes, dehydration and high blood pressure in the mother can affect the amniotic fluid levels.

How is Oligohydramnios Treated?

Treatment for oligohydramnios is based upon the gestational age of the baby. If you are not full term, the doctor will closely monitor you and the levels of amniotic fluid.

Non-stress tests and contraction stress tests may be ordered to determine how your baby is doing, checking his activity. If your pregnancy is close to full term, then the doctor may recommend delivering the baby, either by induction or cesarean delivery.

Other treatments for oligohydramnios include:

· Amnio-infusion during labor. An intrauterine catheter is inserted into the uterus and a saline fluid is pumped in to help pad the umbilical cord during delivery - keeping it from compression and collapse and from hurting the baby. This also reduces the need for a cesarean delivery.

· An injection of fluid prior to delivery through amniocentesis.

· Re-hydrating the mother with intravenous or oral fluids to help increase amniotic fluid levels.

Low amniotic fluid levels can increase labor and delivery complications. If your baby is unable to tolerate labor, then a cesarean will be performed for his safety.


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