In a normal pregnancy approximately 500 ml of amniotic fluid is produced. In almost seven percent of pregnancies, amniotic fluid problems develop. Imbalances in amniotic fluid volume can cause pregnancy complications. In very rare events, amniotic fluid may even pass through the placenta and enter the mother's bloodstream, causing a life-threatening pregnancy complication called amniotic fluid embolism.
Pregnant women with low levels of amniotic fluid have a condition known as oligohydramnios. Ultrasound can identify oligohydramnios, which may be caused by ineffective placental flow. Oligohydramnios may also be caused by low fluid production from the fetus' lungs and kidneys, or a rupture of the amniotic membrane,(the membrane that surrounds both the fetus and the amniotic fluid.
Complications of Oligohydramnios
In most cases of low amniotic fluid, pregnancy ends with a healthy baby. However, oligohydramnios is more serious when it occurs in the first half of a pregnancy. Low levels of amniotic fluid increase the chance of miscarriage, premature births and stillbirth. In addition, oligohydramnios, especially early in pregnancy, carries a greater risk of lung and limb defects. Insufficient amniotic fluid can compress fetal lungs and cause kidney and urinary tract problems. Overall, seven percent of infants who experience oligohydramnios have some degree of birth defects.
Treatment for Low Amniotic Fluid Levels
Treatment depends on how far the pregnancy has progressed. If the pregnancy is at term, delivery is the best treatment. If the pregnancy is not far enough along to recommend delivery, amniotic infusion may be suggested. An amniotic infusion injects additional amniotic fluid through the amniotic membrane to raise fluid levels.
Polyhydramnios is the opposite of oligohydramnios. While oligohydramnios describes too little amniotic fluid, polyhydramnios describes too much. High levels of amniotic fluid often indicate the presence of swallowing or heart defects in the fetus. Polyhydramnios may also occur if the mother has diabetes, or if the fetus experiences an infection or gastrointestinal problems.
Symptoms of polyhydramnios include unusually quick uterine growth and abdominal discomfort. High levels of amniotic fluid can also cause premature uterine contractions.
Complications of High Levels of Amniotic Fluids
High levels of amniotic fluid increase the risk of umbilical cord prolapse. Umbilical cord prolapse occurs when the umbilical cord enters the birth canal before the baby's head. The cord can become tangled and both oxygen and blood flow to the fetus are restricted.
Polyhydramnios can also cause the amniotic fluid membrane to rupture, resulting in premature labor. Birth defects are associated with polyhydramnios, as are premature uterine contractions. During a pregnancy with high levels of amniotic fluid, the mother may experience breathing difficulties if the enlarged uterus pushes against the lungs.
Treatment for Polyhydramnios
Polyhydramnios treatment includes careful monitoring of the condition, with delivery as soon as the pregnancy comes to term. If necessary, amniotic fluid levels may be lowered with medication to decrease fetal urine output, or by means of amnioreduction, a process in which a needle is inserted through the uterus to drain amniotic fluid.
Amniotic Fluid Embolism
Amniotic fluid embolism is a rare complication of pregnancy. It occurs when amniotic fluid pass through the placenta into the mother's bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the amniotic fluid can travel to the lungs, where it causes breathing difficulties. In severe cases, an amniotic fluid embolism can cause death. Symptoms of an amniotic fluid embolism are similar to those for a pulmonary embolism.
Beers, M. H. & Berkow, R., eds. (1999). Normal pregnancy, labor, and delivery. The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, 17th Edition. NJ: Merck Research Laboratories.
Callahan, T .L., Caughey, A. B., & Heffner, L. J. (2001). Blueprints in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2nd Edition. MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (updated 2004). Amniotic fluid problems/hydramnios/olighydramnios.
March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation. (2002). Amniotic fluid abnormalities.
I've heard of where the baby has no fluid around it, but sadly no the child cannot survive. They need the fluid to help the lungs grow and mature and to help the limbs grow properly. There are some things your doctor might try, but you'd have to speak to them. If the damage is too far gone, they may do nothing. I'm sorry that you're having to go through this right now.
I also found this.. Though there are reports of serious complications and death. It always helps to get some hope
No Amniotic Fluid After 12 Weeks – I Survived
by Melissabookmark & shareI was 22 years old when I found out that I was pregnant. I was also already 7 weeks along and miscarrying a twin. At 12 weeks I went to have a CVS procedure where they take amniotic fluid for hereditary testing. This is also when I found out the sex of my child. If it was boy I didn't need to have the procedure.
The ultrasound technician looked at me and my boyfriend and told me that they were 80 percent sure that we would have a girl. I went on to have the procedure even though I knew I didn't have to. I remember the procedure feeling just like a pap smear. It was just a little more uncomfortable, and the doctor was saying there was nothing they could do as water gushed down my legs. I remember screaming for the doctor to give me my baby back. She told me there was nothing she could do and that I would miscarry in a few days.
I went to the OB in my home town, to a have a D&C (clinic abortion) and my mom had asked if there was still a heartbeat. As the doctor listened for a heartbeat there was a thump thump. Then he proceeded to tell me that I would have to get an abortion at a clinic, because they don't do anything with alive babies. I was 15 weeks when I made the appointment. I never went through with it. She still had a beat. She was alive.
Ultrasounds every week showed she had no amniotic fluid. Three different doctors told me she would never survive. This continued until I went into labor at 32 weeks. They stopped the labor for two weeks.
At 34 weeks I was having a child that everyone had said would not survive as soon as she was out of the womb. After eight hours of labor, Victorea Kay Marie was born, 4 pounds, 15 ounces. I remember hearing her cry and having some sort of relief. If she was crying than she had to be alive.
As they whisked her to the NICU my OB told me that she truly delivered a miracle, because two hours later Victorea was thriving. Besides being premature, she was breathing on her own – huge concern, because you need amniotic fluid to help lung function.
Victorea will be 3 on March 30, 2009. I named her after my great grandmother but changed the spelling to show that there was a victory in her survival. I didn't have faith before I had her, but she made me believe in myself and my decision not to terminate her, even after numerous doctors had stated what the odds were. She has no defects; she is not retarded, or has any deformities. She is special and exactly what she is supposed to be – a miracle, my miracle.
Um YES THE BABY CAN SURVIVE but they will end up putting fluid in u and prolly giving u shots to build up babied lungs and take Baby very early. My db cousin just had That happen. They took baby 2 months early and all was well She was just small. Speak to your doctor ASAP about seeing specialist and c about getting Them to build up fluid n do steroid shots. God works wanders if u ask!
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