What Causes Low Levels of Amniotic Fluid?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I am 29 weeks along and my doctor says I have low levels of amniotic fluid. I am not sure how low, he just said its very low. My baby seems fine. He measures 2 weeks bigger than the average, he is swallowing and his bladder is full. The doctor says his heart is strong and working very well, and he has checked the flow through the umbilical cord and all is fine. My baby is active and I don't have high-blood pressure either.

Besides for the fact that he has already dropped into the birth canal and the fluid is low, everything seems fine. What could be causing the low levels of fluid? Is there reason for real concern? Please advise on this; I am worried sick.

Much appreciated,
Roxanne

ANSWER

Assuming the baby's kidneys look normal, I would suggest you start drinking at least a gallon of water every day and try to get the fluid level up. At this point in the pregnancy, most of the amniotic fluid is actually baby urine, and you want to give the baby something to void. There's not much more you can do that I know of.

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.