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 (1). 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). Also, when the amniotic fluid is low, the baby’s cord can become compressed, which can cause oxygen deprivation, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and brain injury. Oligohydramnios can also lead to meconium aspiration and death. The condition can be chronic (occurring over time) or acute (occurring suddenly). Acute oligohydramnios can occur in the presence of severe preeclampsia and oxygen deprivation in the baby or rupture of membranes (2).
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 (2). Monitoring should include ultrasounds to follow amniotic fluid levels, non-stress tests (NSTs), and biophysical profiles (BPPs) to monitor the baby’s activity and oxygen levels. IV fluids, as well as maternal hydration, can add fluid to the uterus. During labor and delivery, an amnio-infusion can be performed to add fluid to the uterus, as well. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends admission and delivery by 36 to 37 and 6/7 weeks gestation in cases of oligohydramnios (3). Admission, monitoring, and delivery should occur sooner for other additional fetal indications (4).
Legal help for oligohydramnios and birth injuries
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 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 unless we win your case. Contact us for a free case evaluation. We are available 24 / 7 to speak with you.
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- Beloosesky, R., & Ross, M. (n.d.). Retrieved February 9, 2019, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/oligohydramnios
- Oligohydramnios. (n.d.). Retrieved September 26, 2020, from https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications/oligohydramnios.aspx
- Medically Indicated Late-Preterm and Early-Term Deliveries. (2019, February). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2019/02/medically-indicated-late-preterm-and-early-term-deliveries
- Oligohydramnios. (2020, August 27). Retrieved September 26, 2020, from https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/oligohydramnios-912