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Donna BaloLow Amniotic Fluid
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS

Q. At my 18 week ultrasound, my amniotic fluid levels were normal. At my ultrasound today, my amniotic fluid index was 5 cm. The doctor seems quite concerned. My fundal height measured 28 weeks and I'm 31 weeks according to LMP. Five weeks ago I was in for a regular appointment and my fundal height was 24 cm at 26.5 wks. It seems pretty obvious to me that my fluid levels fell sometime between my last ultrasound and my 26 week appointment. The doc has me going in every week for an ultrasound to check levels and biweekly for NSTs. He also has me on limited activity and I'm to increase my fluid intake. He informed me that my risk of cord accidents has increased but didn't say by how much . . . just told me to make sure that baby is moving and if I feel anything is wrong, to call.

Is there anything I can do other than drinking lots of water (I drank 96+ oz yesterday and am shooting for more than that today)? I just would like to know what might be causing it and if there is anything we can do about it.

A. Because the amniotic fluid is dependent on the baby, the question when there is less than expected, or more than expected, is why? Is there anything out of the ordinary with the baby's kidneys or lungs or placenta? However, it can also be affected by mom's hydration.

Be careful not to drink too much water; there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. It could throw your electrolytes off. Also, remember that water is a natural diuretic. Make sure you are getting 64 oz / day, but probably no more than about 70 oz.

Soak in the tub for a half hour a couple times a day. If the fluid is low because of your dehydration - this can make a very big difference. I would soak at least a half hour a day, two times a day. Adding epsom salts to the water can also help to absorb the water.

A fundal measurement that is high or low once is not necessarily anything to be concerned with as it can be caused by the position of the baby.

Hopefully this was transitory and not anything to be concerned about. It sounds like you are being watched carefully and know what to look out for yourself. Being dehydrated can cause contractions.

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