What happens if amniotic fluid decreases during pregnancy?
Throughout the pregnancy, numerous tests are performed, but ultrasound is undoubtedly the best known. Thanks to them, doctors check how the pregnancy is developing, and if there are any problems, such as, for example, the decrease in amniotic fluid, known as oligoamnios. From the hand of Dr. José Luis Neyro, gynecologist at the Cruces University Hospital in Bilbao and author of neyro.com, we explain why amniotic fluid is important, what may be the causes that cause its decrease and what it means for the baby. Also read: Risks for mother and child of high blood pressure in pregnancy Amniotic fluid, essential for the development of the fetus We could say that amniotic fluid, that fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus, is essential for its development. “It is made by the placenta and ovular membranes, which are what form the gestational sac, the place where the gestation has to evolve,” says Dr. Neyro. Its role is so important that it is present even in the beginning of pregnancy, “since the first structures that will give rise to the embryo are formed”. Its functions are very important, since it creates the right environment for the little one, taking care of protecting it from any blow that its mother may receive, but, in addition, it facilitates its mobility, regulates its temperature and even influences the development of its lungs. Hence, as the expert points out, any alteration (both low and high level) is a serious problem for the fetus. Read also: This is how the umbilical cord is and how it works Why can amniotic fluid decrease? The causes that can cause the decrease in amniotic fluid are diverse. Among them are: Hypertension. Having high blood pressure is a risk factor and even more so if it occurs gradually during pregnancy. Blood circulation problems “The formation of the placenta (which makes amniotic fluid) and the ovular structures of pregnancy are related to the richness of the woman’s blood vessels,” says Dr. Neyro. So if your blood vessels are healthy, your pregnancy will be too. Some problem with the placenta, such as it stops forming amniotic fluid. Congenital malformation of the fetus, which causes that after swallowing the amniotic fluid (as fetuses always do), however, do not recycle it. Normally, it highlights that this type of malformation may be related to the kidneys. Also read: Weird things that happen in pregnancy and that you may not expect. This is your diagnosis. It must be said that during pregnancy, at least three ultrasounds are done: at 11, at 20 and at 28 to 34 weeks. The most common is that in one of these tests, in which the maturation stage of the placenta is determined, the gynecologist detects this problem that does not manifest itself in a specific way with any symptoms in pregnant women. The severity of oligoamnios will vary depending on the week in which it appears. “If this happens in the first thirteen weeks of gestation, it is a very serious problem. 9 out of 10 cases have no solution: the baby is lost because the bag has broken, for example ”, he points out. The situation changes if a decrease in amniotic fluid is detected in the third trimester of pregnancy. So the first thing the doctor has to determine is whether or not the bag has broken with an analysis of the vagina. A test that “allows them to identify the presence of certain proteins that only exist in amniotic fluid, but not in the cervix or vagina.” The detection of this protein indicates that there is or has been amniotic fluid, and, therefore, that the bosa has broken. “If you have lost a lot of fluid, what will be tried is that the pregnancy does not become infected and an evacuation will have to be carried out as quickly as possible,” he says. In the event that the protein analysis is negative, the amniotic sac has not ruptured, so the baby can succeed, and the specialist will determine if it is necessary to induce labor, while, using ultrasound, they analyze the reasons for this low amniotic fluid. As highlighted above, it can be due to different reasons, which doctors must rule out, such as malformations or problems of the placenta, and decide the procedure to follow, which, in any case, Dr. Neyro insists, must be individualized and adapted to each specific case. Read also: Do you know what the Hamilton maneuver is?