Oligohydramnios is the medical term for low amniotic fluid during pregnancy. The amniotic fluid, which exists in a sac made up of the chorion and amnion membranes, is a large part of the growing baby's life support system. The normal volume of amniotic fluid is between 500 and 1000 milliliters. Physicians associate low amniotic fluid with pregnancy complications and problems with fetal development. Alternatively, abnormal development or health issues of the expectant mother can cause low amniotic fluid.
The amniotic fluid provides a cushion and protects a developing baby from injury during pregnancy. Furthermore, the fluid ensures there is enough room for the baby to grow and move, and maintains a consistent temperature. Amniotic fluid also keeps the umbilical cord from being compressed against the wall of the uterus during pregnancy and delivery. The baby begins breathing and swallowing amniotic fluid during the second trimester.
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