Amniotic fluid plays a role in helping the growth and development of the fetus, as well as protecting the fetus from injury. However, amniotic fluid can experience abnormalities and this condition needs to be watched out for. Recognize what are the signs of abnormal amniotic fluid and the risks.
Amniotic fluid begins to form approximately 12 days after the fertilization process. Normally, amniotic fluid is clear yellowish in color with a volume of about 60 milliliters (mL) at 12 weeks' gestation, 175 mL at 16 weeks' gestation, and 400–1,200 mL at 34-38 weeks' gestation.
However, there are some pregnant women who have amniotic fluid with abnormal conditions, for example, it is cloudy in color or the volume of amniotic fluid is too little or too much.
Amniotic fluid conditions are not normal
There are several things that can be a sign that the amniotic fluid is abnormal and need to be watched out for, namely:
1. Too much amniotic fluid
Medically, this condition is called polyhydramnios. Polyhydramnios is a common complication experienced by pregnant women. Most pregnant women with polyhydramnios can give birth to healthy babies. However, you are advised not to ignore this condition.
The cause of too much amniotic fluid is not known for certain. However, there are several risk factors associated with polyhydramnios, including:
- Congenital abnormalities in the fetus, such as the inability of the fetus to swallow amniotic fluid and excrete it
- Pregnant women suffer from diabetes, including gestational diabetes
- Twin pregnancy with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome
- Rhesus blood between mother and fetus is different or rhesus incompatibility
- Problems with the baby's heart, such as congenital heart defects
- Infection in pregnancy
Polyhydramnios can increase the risk of premature birth and pregnant women experiencing bleeding after delivery. Therefore, it is important to carry out routine pregnancy check-ups to detect the risk of polyhydramnios early on.
2. Too little amniotic fluid
Too little amniotic fluid or oligohydramnios is more prone to occur in the last trimester of pregnancy. This condition can occur due to several factors, namely:
- Pregnancy complications, such as hypertension, dehydration, preeclampsia, and diabetes
- Late pregnancy or gestational age exceeding 42 weeks
- Consumption of certain drugs, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE)
- Placental abruption
- Amniotic membrane ruptured
- Problems with the fetus, such as genetic disorders
Oligohydramnios can be detected by examining the volume of amniotic fluid using ultrasound. If pregnant women are diagnosed with oligohydramnios, it is recommended to drink more water, especially if accompanied by symptoms of dehydration.
In addition, low amniotic fluid conditions also require amniotic fluid injection or amnioinfusion. This treatment step is carried out by the doctor by giving fluids saline injected into the wall of the amniotic sac.
3. Premature rupture of membranes
In some pregnant women, the membranes can rupture before 37 weeks of pregnancy. The earlier this condition occurs, the more serious the condition experienced by the mother and fetus.
Premature rupture of membranes often has no known cause, but there are several risk factors that are thought to be the trigger, namely:
- Infections of the vagina, uterus, or cervix
- Smoking habit
- History of surgery or cervical biopsy
- History of similar conditions in previous pregnancies
- Amniotic sac is overstretched due to polyhydramnios or other reasons
When pregnant women feel water flowing from the vagina, either slowly or spurts, immediately take a cloth to absorb the liquid. Smell the aroma and make sure whether the amniotic fluid smells like urine or not. If after being kissed was not urine, immediately seek medical help.
4. Amniotic fluid is abnormally colored
If it's close to the date of delivery, the membranes may rupture on their own. The amniotic fluid that comes out is normally cloudy white to yellowish and odorless.
Amniotic fluid is abnormally colored such as greenish or brownish, mixed with a lot of blood, thick textured, and has a foul smell, can indicate abnormalities in the fetus or infection in the amniotic fluid. This condition needs to be treated by a doctor immediately.
By recognizing the signs of abnormal amniotic fluid early, treatment can be carried out immediately so that the risk of complications is reduced. That is why, it is important to have regular pregnancy check-ups with a doctor or midwife so that the condition of your pregnancy and fetus can be continuously monitored.