O: What Is Oligohydramnios?

04/01/2010 10:09 | Updated 22 May 2015

Pregnant woman having ultrasound scanOligohydramnios is a condition that occurs during pregnancy where the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is below normal levels.

The amniotic fluid protects the baby and aids the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and the digestive system. If there is too little amniotic fluid it is also possible that the baby may lean on the umbilical cord and cut off the blood supply.

Symptoms of the condition are not obvious but regular checkups with your doctor of midwife will allow them to measure your abdomen and, should there be any concern, an ultrasound will detect decreased levels.

Around four to eight per cent of pregnant women are diagnosed, though the number rises to 12 per cent for those two weeks or more past their due date, but it is not uncommon in women in the latter stages of pregnancy.

The condition can point to a problem with the baby's kidneys or urinary tract and can also be as a result of a leak or puncture in the amniotic sac.

On occasion an amnioinfusion will be recommended. This is a transfusion of a special fluid that helps to replace lost or low levels of amniotic fluid. If your midwife deems the condition a danger to the health of your baby, an early delivery may be necessary.

However, oligohydramnios can often be controlled by getting plenty of rest, staying well hydrated and eating healthily.

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