What Does Low Amniotic Fluid Mean?
Amniotic fluid cushions the fetus while it is still in the womb. It protects it from bumps and bruises while the mother moves around and also insulates the fetus from temperature fluctuations.
Oligohydramnios is the condition of not having enough amniotic fluid. It mostly occurs during the third trimester. Since the level of amniotic fluid fluctuates throughout pregnancy, the only way to tell if you do not have enough is via ultrasound.
Amniotic Fluid Index
The level of amniotic fluid increases between the first and 21st weeks of pregnancy. It begins to drop after that as the fetus begins to take up more space. The amniotic fluid index measures the amount of fluid in four separate quadrants; those four amounts are added up to determine if there is enough.
Not having enough amniotic fluid can result in birth defects, giving birth prematurely and labor complications. If it happens early enough in the pregnancy a miscarriage or stillbirth may occur. Women who have low amniotic fluid levels are more likely to have to give birth via Cesarean section.
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