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Your baby is resting inside a fluid-filled sac in the uterus. This sac is called the amniotic sac and the fluid is known as amniotic fluid.The amniotic fluid helps to:
- Lessen the impact when your baby bumps against the uterine walls
- Develop the digestive system and lungs of your baby
- Protect your baby from any infections
If your body has too much or too less of amniotic fluid, it can cause various complications during pregnancy ranging from a cracked placenta to preterm labour. Typically, the amniotic fluid index should be 8 – 18 in a normal pregnancy.
What Are the Causes of Low Amniotic Fluid?
When you have an amniotic fluid index of five toor six, then you are suffering from a conditon of low level of amniotic fluid or oligohydramnios. A deficiency of amniotic fluid can affect your child’s hands, feet, lungs, limbs and rarely, also his face. The causes of oligohydramnios or low amniotic fluid are:
- Water breaking
- Chronic high blood pressure or diabetes in the mother
- The placenta moving away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery, depriving the baby of nutrients and oxygen
- Usage of medications like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Problems with baby’s kidneys or urinary tract
- Poor fetal growth
Tips To Increase Amniotic Fluid
Here are some tips on how to increase the amniotic fluid levels during pregnancy:
- Drink lots of water It is one of the easiest ways to increase the amniotic fluid index. If you increase the level of water your body has, the level of the amniotic fluid also increases. If you are wondering how to increase amniotic fluid in the 8th month of pregnancy, keeping your body hydrated is the answer.
- Foods that have high water content should be on your meal Some foods that increase amniotic fluid during pregnancy are:
- Vegetables like cucumber, lettuce, iceberg lettuce, spinach, radish, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Fruits like strawberries, watermelon, tomatoes, cantaloupe/muskmelon, grapefruit, etc.
- Do not drink alcohol. You should avoid alcohol during pregnancy since it is not good for your child’s health. Alcohol also leads to dehydration and lowers the level of amniotic fluid in your body.
- Avoid herbal supplements which can dehydrate you. These herbal supplements function as diuretics (medicines that make you urinate more frequently). The more you urinate, the more you get dehydrated. It is very essential that you are always hydrated to maintain and increase the level of amniotic fluid in your body.
- Perform light exercises regularly. You should do around forty minutes of workout (that does not include weight) every day. Regular workout helps to increase blood flow to various parts of the body. If the blood flow to the placenta and uterus increases, the level of amniotic fluid in your body will also increase.
Note: You should workout only if the doctor has not prescribed complete bed rest.
What Are the Causes of High Amniotic Fluid?
When you have an amniotic fluid index of twenty to twenty-four, then you have a high level of amniotic fluid or polyhydramnios. IHigh levels of amniotic fluid can cause placental abruptions, premature labour , postpartum haemorrhage and caesarean delivery. Some of the causes of polyhydramnios are:
- Maternal diabetes
- Birth defect in the baby’s gastrointestinal tract or central nervous system
- Identical twin pregnancy complication in which one baby receives too much blood and the other too little
- Deficiency of red blood cells in the baby
- Infections to mother during pregnancy
- Blood incompatabilities between mother and baby
What Complications Can Arise Due to High Amniotic Fluid?
Polyhydramnios can lead to the following pregnancy complications:
- Placental abruption
- C-section delivery
- Premature childbirth
- Premature rupture of membranes
- Umbilical cord prolapse
Tips To Decrease Amniotic Fluid
Here are some tips on how to reduce amniotic fluid during pregnancy:
- Treatment of the underlying disease: Sometimes, the increased level of amniotic fluid can be due to a disease you have. So, treatment of the disease will help in lowering the level of amniotic fluid.
- Amniocentesis: This is a process which drains out the excess amniotic fluid in your body. Amniocentesis is the last resort since this process might cause preterm labour and delivery.
- The doctor may put you on indomethacin. It helps in reducing the level of amniotic fluid.and is generally prescribed 31 weeks before delivery.
A proper level of amniotic fluid is essential for the well-being of the child. Get your amniotic fluid level checked and make sure that it is always in the range of 8-20.
Also Read: Leaking Amniotic Fluid during Pregnancy