Low Amniotic Fluid

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Topic Overview

What is low amniotic fluid?

Low amniotic fluid means that there is too little fluid around your baby in the uterus during pregnancy. The medical term for this problem is oligohydramnios.

Amniotic fluid protects your baby from being bumped or hurt as you move your body. And it keeps your baby at a healthy temperature. The fluid helps your baby move around in the uterus.

A low amount of this fluid can affect how the baby grows. It may lead to problems during labor and delivery.

What causes low amniotic fluid?

Low amniotic fluid may be caused by:

  • A health problem such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • A problem with the placenta. The placenta is a large organ that grows in your uterus during pregnancy. It supplies your baby with nutrients and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
  • Some medicines.
  • A problem with the baby's kidneys or urinary tract.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Fluid leaking from your vagina.
  • Your uterus not growing as expected.
  • Your baby's movements slowing down.

How is low amniotic fluid diagnosed?

Doctors use ultrasound to calculate the amniotic fluid index. This index is a way of measuring the amount of fluid in your uterus.

How is it treated?

If you're near the end of your pregnancy, you may not need treatment. Depending on what's causing low amniotic fluid and how close you are to delivery, your doctor may want to try to start (induce) labor.

You may be asked to drink more water, or you may be given fluids through an intravenous (IV) needle into a vein. Your doctor may want to see you more often.


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

Specialist Medical Reviewer Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofNovember 21, 2017