What is oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid) and can this cause harm to the baby?

Oligohydramnios is a condition in which the volume of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in the womb is less than it should be for the baby’s gestational age.  A sufficient amount of amniotic fluid is very important for normal movement, growth, and cushioning of the baby and umbilical cord.  When the fluid gets too low – which is often a sign that the placenta is not functioning properly –  movement and growth of the baby can be inhibited and the baby can develop intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).  When the amniotic fluid is low, the baby’s cord can become compressed, which can cause severe oxygen deprivation, brain damage, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).  Oligohydramnios can also lead to meconium aspiration as well as deformations and death.  The condition can be chronic (occuring over time) or acute (occurring suddenly).  Acute oligohydramnios can occur in the presence of severe preeclampsia and oxygen deprivation in the baby.


Screening is Crucial to Preventing Adverse Effects from Oligohydramnios

It is very important for physicians to check the mother’s amniotic fluid volume at every prenatal ultrasound exam, because reduced amniotic fluid can have serious consequences for the baby.  It is important to note that reduced amniotic fluid can be associated congenital disorders, such as stomach/intestine or urinary tract obstructions.  If amniotic fluid is low or absent, this can mean the mother experienced premature rupture of the membranes (PROM), which is when her water breaks early.   PROM can cause the baby to be born prematurely, or to get an infection called chorioamnionitis.  Both of these conditions can cause serious problems in the baby.  Rupture of the membranes is the most common cause of oligohydramnios.

Legal Help for Oligohydramnios and Birth InjuriesBirth Injury Law | Reiter & Walsh, PC

If you had oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid) and your child was diagnosed with a birth injury such as cerebral palsy, a seizure disorder, or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), the award-winning birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers can help.  We have helped children throughout the country obtain compensation for lifelong treatment, therapy, and a secure future, and we give personal attention to each child and family we represent. Our firm has numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success, and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case.  Email or call Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers at 866-323-2960 for a free case evaluation.  We are available 24 / 7 to speak with you.

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Related Resources

VIDEO: BIRTH ASPHYXIA & HYPOXIC ISCHEMIC ENCEPHALOPATHY (HIE)

Video: birth injury lawyers discuss oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid) & HIE.Watch birth injury lawyers Jesse Reiter and Rebecca Walsh discuss the causes of birth asphyxia and hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).