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Low Amniotic Fluid

Condition Basics

What is low amniotic fluid?

Low amniotic fluid means that there is too little fluid around your baby in the uterus during pregnancy.

Having a low amount of this fluid can affect how the baby grows. It may lead to problems during labour and delivery.

Amniotic fluid protects your baby from being bumped or hurt as you move your body. And it keeps your baby at a healthy temperature. The fluid helps your baby move around in the uterus.

What causes it?

In many cases, the cause of low amniotic fluid may not be found.

But causes may include:

  • A health problem such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
  • A problem with the placenta. The placenta is a large organ that grows in your uterus during pregnancy. It supplies your baby with nutrients and oxygen through the umbilical cord.
  • Some medicines.
  • A problem with the baby's kidneys or urinary tract.

What are the symptoms?

Some of the symptoms may include:

  • Fluid leaking from your vagina.
  • Your uterus not growing as expected. This means that the size of your pregnant belly is not as large as it should be, as measured from top to bottom by your doctor.
  • Your baby's movements slowing down.

How is it diagnosed?

Doctors use ultrasound to measure the amount of amniotic fluid in your uterus.

How is low amniotic fluid treated?

If you're near the end of your pregnancy, you may not need treatment. Depending on what's causing the problem and how close you are to delivery, your doctor may want to try to start (induce) labour.

Credits

Adaptation Date: 3/1/2022

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.