Amniotic Fluid Complications
Amniotic fluid or liquor amnii is the nourishing and protective liquid contained in the amniotic sac of the pregnant women. It surrounds the fetus and plays an important role in the baby’s growth and development. It is a clear color liquid which protects the baby and provides it with fluids. The baby breaths this liquid into the lungs and swallows it. This in turn makes the bay’s lungs and the digestive system grow strong. Amniotic fluid also allows the baby to move around, which helps it to develop its muscles and bones.
The amniotic sac, along with the amniotic fluid, begins to form about 12 days after conception. In the early weeks, the amniotic fluid is made up of water supplied by the mother. After about 20 weeks, the baby’s urine makes up most of the fluid.
The amount of amniotic fluid increases as the fetus grows. The amount of amniotic fluid increases until about 36 weeks of pregnancy. It increases to about 800 ml. After that time the level begins to decrease to about 600ml by the time the baby is born.
Too little (Oligohydramnios) or too much (Polyhydramnios) amniotic fluid can be a cause or an indicator of problems for the mother and the baby. However, in both cases, the majority of pregnancy proceed normally, both this isn’t always the case. Color of the amniotic fluid can indicate the following possible indications:
- GREEN – Meconial amniotic fluid
- YELLOW – Hemolytic disease
- BROWN – Infection.
When a woman has Oligohydramnios, the level of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is too low. It occurs in about 4 out of every 100 pregnancies. Though it is most common in the last trimester of pregnancy, it can develop at any time during the pregnancy. This is also reported in the pregnant women whose pregnancies last 2 weeks past the due delivery date. This happens as the amniotic fluid level naturally declines.
Oligohydramnios is diagnosed by the ultrasound techniques. The causes can be:
• Certain birth defects in the baby involving the kidney and the urinary tract
• Ruptured membrane
• A pregnancy that goes past the due date
• The health condition of the pregnant women like high blood pressure, diabetes or lupus.
Oligohydramnios can affect the pregnant woman, the baby and her labor delivery in various ways. In the first two trisemesters, too little amniotic fluid may result in the birth defects of the lungs and the limbs. Oligohydramnios during this period increases the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth and stillbirth.
Oligohydramnios during the third semester is linked to poor fetal growth, complications during labor and birth and increased risk of C-section.
Women with otherwise normal pregnancy who develop Oligohydramnios near their due date probably need no treatment. The baby is most likely to be born healthy. However, a close watch should be monitored in that situation as well.
When a woman has Polyhydramnios, the level of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is too high. Too much amniotic fluid occurs in 1 out of 100 pregnancies. Polyhydramnios usually lead to early delivery.
Polyhydramnios can be diagnosed by ultrasound and some of the known causes of Polyhydramnios are:
• Birth defects in the baby that affects the ability to swallow. (Normally, when the fetus swallows, the level of amniotic fluid goes down a bit. They helps to balance down the increase in fluid caused by the fetal urination.)
• Heart defects in the baby
• Diabetes during pregnancy
• Infection in the baby during pregnancy
• Blood incompatibilities between the pregnant mother and the baby (i.e., the Rh factor or the Kell Disease.)
Polyhydramnios may increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as:
• Preterm ruptures of the membrane (PROM)
• Premature Birth
• Placental Abruptions
• Poor positioning of the fetus
• Severe bleeding by the mother after the delivery
Prenatal care should be taken properly and the level of the amniotic fluid and the belly size should be monitored constantly so as to know about the level of amniotic fluid inside the womb.