The baby rests inside a fluid-filled sac which is known as amniotic fluid. The amniotic fluid helps:
- Lessen the injury to the baby, if the baby bumps against the uterine walls.
- Helps in developing the digestive system and lungs of the baby
- Protect the baby from infection
- Keeps the temperature of the womb regulated
- Allows the baby to move
- It also helps the umbilical cord to float freely so that it is not squished between the baby and the side of the uterus
Low amniotic fluid level causes various complications during pregnancy such as cracked placenta or preterm labor. The normal amniotic fluid index should be 8-18.
What Causes Low Amniotic Fluid?
If a female has an amniotic fluid index of 5 or six, then she is said to be suffering from the low level of amniotic fluid or oligohydramnios. The low levels can affect the child’s hand, feet, lungs, limbs, and also rarely his face.
The Causes Of Low Amniotic Fluid Levels Are As Follows:
- Water breaking
- High blood pressure, obesity, dehydration, preeclampsia, or diabetes in mother
- Placenta moving away from the inner wall of the uterus before term depriving the baby of nutrients and oxygen
- Post-term pregnancy as the amniotic fluid starts decreasing after 36 weeks and is likely to get very low by 42 weeks of pregnancy
- Certain medications like an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
- Poor growth of the fetus
- Problem with baby’s kidney and urinary tract
How To Increase The Amniotic Fluid Level?
Depending on the cause of the condition the treatment is suggested.
Drink More Fluids
Keeping yourself hydrated is very important anytime in life. It plays a role in various health benefits. Same applies to the pregnancy.
A study shows staying hydrated is very helpful in increasing the amniotic fluid levels in women during 37 to 41 weeks of pregnancy.1
Maternal hydration in women is associated with an increase in amniotic fluid.2
Therefore, if wondering how to increase the amniotic fluid level during the 8th month of pregnancy, keeping hydrated, is an answer.
If the doctor thinks the females need it, amnioinfusion is done.
Amnioinfusion is a procedure in which the doctor squirts saline through the cervix into the amniotic sac. It temporarily increases the level of amniotic fluid. It is mostly used to increase the baby’s visibility during an ultrasound.
It is an effective method to improve the baby’s surroundings if there is less amniotic fluid.3
If there is low amniotic fluid before or during labor the doctor may give fluids via amniocentesis (a thin needle inserted directly into the amniotic sac through the abdomen). This procedure helps the baby maintain the movement and heart rate throughout the delivery. It also decreases the chances of cesarean delivery.
IV fluids are either given when there is excessive nausea or vomiting which leads to dehydration or if you need to hydrate to increase the amniotic fluid.
Treating the Cause
Since there are various conditions which cause the level of the amniotic fluid to drop, treating them can improve the levels.
This might involve medications to treat the condition, regular blood pressure and blood sugar monitoring and frequent visits to the doctor.
Sometimes the doctor advice bed rest to the female having a low amniotic fluid level. It is mostly advised during the 2nd or the 3 rd trimester of pregnancy.
Bed rest ensure proper blood flow to the placenta which in turn increase the level of amniotic fluid.
Risks associated with continuing a pregnancy without enough amniotic fluids are high which include stillbirth, cord compression, or meconium aspiration.
A doctor, therefore, recommends early delivery.
Low amniotic fluid can occur anytime during pregnancy and could lead to some serious effects. It needs prompt treatment from the doctor.
If you find your baby moving less or fluid leaking out of the vaginas which are among a few signs of low amniotic fluid, immediately call your doctor.
There are various treatments which can help keep the little one safe and healthy.