Oligohydramnios (prenatal period)

Oligohydramnios is a condition which occurs when there is a decreased amount of fluid in the amniotic sac. This condition is most often seen in the third trimester, and affects less than 10% of pregnancies.

What Complications are caused by Oligohydramnios?

The presence of amniotic fluid in the womb is important as it aids nutrition and provides protection to the fetus. In most cases, amniotic fluid will increase as the pregnancy progresses. In instances where oligohydramnios is present, the mother may need to deliver the baby early. Umbilical cord constriction can occur if there is insufficient fluid surrounding the baby. In rare cases, the condition indicates problems with the baby’s kidneys or urinary tract, and/or slow fetal development.

How is Oligohydramnios Detected and Treated?

The mother may notice leaking fluid or decreased fetal activity. During prenatal visits, when fundal height is measured, the amount of amniotic fluid can be determined. If a low level of fluid is found, preventive measures can be taken to prevent harm to the baby. Most cases can be treated with bed rest, antibiotics and steroids, and oral and/or IV hydration. In some cases, an amnio-infusion (transfusion of fluid into the amniotic sac), may be recommended. Symptoms of Oligohydramnios may not be obvious to the mother, so the importance of consistent prenatal health care plays an important role in detection of this condition.

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