Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby in your uterus during pregnancy. Oligohydramnios means having too little amniotic fluid in your womb. An increased amount of this fluid is called polyhydramnios. About 6-10 per cent of all pregnant women are found to have low amniotic fluid or oligohydramnios, usually in their third trimester. The amount of fluid reduces once the pregnancy crosses the ‘due date’ and hence, it is important to monitor the pregnancy after this point.
The fluid is made initially by the placenta and after 14-16 weeks, it is made by the baby’s kidneys as fetal urine. The baby passes this out into the amniotic sac as urine. Babies then swallow the amniotic fluid and it passes through the stomach and into the intestines. The fluid also bathes the baby’s lungs and helps in lung development.
The fluid, or waters, protects the baby from external compression or blows. The fluid also plays an important part in helping the development and maturity of the lungs and digestive system, as explained above.