There are a lot of things that a woman has to take care of during pregnancy. The doctor lets you know about any risks beforehand in most of the cases. The most important part is to keep the baby protected in the mother's womb for the nine months period. Amniotic fluid is an essential part of fetal development. Basically, it is the fluid that surrounds your baby while they develop inside your uterus. The functions that this fluid performs include allowing baby's movement, normal development of the baby's parts, baby's temperature regulation and also helps in preventing infection. Your body starts producing amniotic fluid in the early stages, about 12 days after conceiving. In the initial months of pregnancy, amniotic fluid is made up of water from the mother's body.
Low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios) can be a matter of concern and should be taken seriously. After experiencing any symptoms such as abdominal discomfort or clear discharge, you should talk to the doctor for any possible treatments and ways to increase the amniotic fluid. When amniotic fluid is less, then it should be during that period of time of gestation which is known as oligohydramnios. It is identified by ultrasound only. In ultrasound, they measure the single pockets which is known as the deep vertical pockets. These pockets are less than 2 cm deep or the Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI) is less than 5cms. To dig more, Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Nithya Ramamurthy, Senior Consultant, Gynaecology, Fortis Malar Hospital, about the symptoms, causes, complications and ways to increase low Amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Low amniotic fluid symptoms
According to Dr. Nithya, the main symptoms of low amniotic fluid during pregnancy are:
1. Clear discharge
Generally, it is asked to the patient that if they are experiencing some white discharge, if it was curdy white or clear discharge. If the patient experiences clear discharge around 34 weeks then it is examined by putting a speculum and examine to see any discharge. Litmus paper was also used that when touched to the discharge if it turns blue, then that means there is a high leak which indicated that the lycra levels can drop.
2. Small uterus
The uterus will be small in women with low Amniotic fluid during pregnancy. If you have low amniotic fluid, your doctor might tell you that your uterus is small for gestational age. You might also not gain enough pregnancy weight in such cases. Your baby's heart rate can show a sudden drop.
Also read: How Protected is a Baby in the Womb
3. Less baby movement
The baby movements are occuring superficially in such patients. The movement of the baby is directly influenced by the amount of amniotic fluid. A reduction in this fluid's level can affect the movement majorly as it is a support system for the baby. Leaking fluid is also a sign of low amniotic fluid levels.
4. Discomfort in lower abdomen
The patient complains of discomfort in the lower abdomen and the baby feels like it is in the lower bowl. Around 30 weeks, the lycra levels are usually around 12 and near term it is around 10-12. So, discomfort in the lower abdomen is also one of the symptoms of low levels of amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Low Amniotic Fluid causes
If the mother is anemic or she has got hypertension which is complicating the pregnancy or if she has pregnancy induced hypertension,these can be the main causes for low amniotic fluid in pregnancy. Autoimmune diseases like SLE or even natural dehydration can also cause oligohydramnios. If the neutroplasm is insufficient, then also it can cause such a complication. That means the blood circulation from the mother to the baby is poor that it causes chronic hypoxia, which means the oxygen for the baby becomes less thereby the fluid levels drop. In such cases, some kind of chronoform disorder can be present in the baby or the baby's kidney will not be well developed. The baby might also have multiple cysts in the kidney and he/she might have bladder outlet obstruction. Congenital disabilities and post date pregnancy are also other causes of low amniotic fluid levels.
Low Amniotic Fluid diagnosis and treatment
Other than ultrasound, check hemoglobin, check sugar levels, check uric acid or if the mother is in hypertension. Lupus anticoagulant that is done to see, that in these conditions the blood circulation between the mother and child become less which will result in the reduction of lycra levels. The ultrasound expert will firstly scan your uterus to measure the single deepest pocket of amniotic fluid they can. A normal measurement is 2 to 8 centimeters and less than that is a sign of low amniotic fluid at this stage. In early cases which are identified at 6 months of pregnancy, they are advised to have a good nutritious diet, hydration is also very important and must have 1.5-2 litres of water a day.
Blood thinners are also provided which help the lycra levels to improve. In case the membranes are intact and the AFI levels are 8 and the pregnancy has lasted 33-38 weeks, they are kept under CTC monitor where the heart rate of the baby is monitored and the contractions are noticed. We encourage normal birth, if there is a consistent deacceleration taking place, C-section is advised. In case there is a pre term, premature rupture of the membrane in 34-36 weeks and the head is well fixed and you can manage a normal labor through the cervix then intracervical insemination is done with an increase in water level that stablizes the fetal heart, if that fails then the mother is taken for C-section.
Ways to increase low Amniotic fluid levels
Before 24 weeks or in multiple pregnancy, amniotic fluid is measured through an ultrasound with a method called the maximum vertical pocket. There are not many natural remedies to increase the low amniotic fluid, but there are some ways except medical treatment that can be of some help. Below listed are some ways to increase amniotic fluid levels during pregnancy:
- Drink enough fluids
- IV fluids
- Healthy diet
So, these were the causes, symptoms, complications and ways to increase low Amniotic fluid during pregnancy. If you experience any of the above symptoms, talking to a gynaecologist is important. The complications of oligohydramnios include increased chances of miscarriage or the woman might lose the baby if the baby's lungs are not developed properly. If there is less lycra, it causes compression on the fetal organ and this causes birth defects which is an early complication. Later complications include intrauterine growth retardation and cord compression due to less lycra and it causes the heart rate to be rapid.
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