Low Amniotic Fluid at 36 Weeks

Updated on August 21, 2010
T.S. asks from Evansville, IN
8 answers

We just had another ultrasound done at 36 weeks and everything was fine (besides him wanting to sleep through the whole thing) but when the doctor talked to us later she explained that I had low fluid levels and that we may need to start coming in twice a week rather than once a week.

They've scheduled an ultrasound followed by a NST early next week. My doctor explained that if the fluid levels haven't gone up, our baby may be here sooner than expected. (By that, I assume she means next week if my tests don't show any improvement.)

I wasn't told a level on how low it was and the baby is moving around just fine and in the proper position. The ultrasound tech gave an estimate of 5 pounds 8 ounces, which is a bit small for almost 37 weeks. I know that probably isn't the correct weight, but it's what they're going by currently. Hopefully he'll be gaining a lot more before next week.

This is our third child and our first born was a small baby, but our second one was normal. No complications in any of the pregnancies besides slight spotting once this time several weeks ago that had no ill effects and nothing was wrong on my tests thus far.

Should I be concerned? I was told to rest more and drink more and that they'd keep a close eye on us, but nothing that sounded concerning besides that the baby may need to be induced rather than allowing me to go into labor on my own.

I don't know much else about it until more testing is done next week, so I have to suffer through the weekend wondering about what could be wrong. It doesn't seem like there is a huge problem since I'm considered full term as of today and our first born had low fluid levels as well, though she was post-due.

It's been rather hot this year compared to the past few summers I was pregnant with our little girls and it's hard to stay hydrated. I'm hoping that has a lot to do with the low fluid levels, but can drinking more really help all that much? It doesn't seem like it would, but I'm drinking a ton more water than I was and staying inside out of the heat more often than not.

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So What Happened?

Went in to the hospital yesterday due to feeling horrible, running a fever, and having contractions. By the time I finally got there and admitted, the contractions had gone away but I had a fever of over 100. They did a few blood tests and took a urine sample and the only thing they found was that I was dehydrated, so they put a full IV through me in a few hours. (All the while I was drinking water too, so I had to pee constantly!)

Everything was fine on the monitors besides my heart rate was elevated, probably due to pain and annoyance at the current hospital bill. Went in for an ultrasound and everything was fine and he got a ten out of ten rating. (She also said something about my fluid levels being 14.7 and not low at all.)

My doctor was not on call and I had been referred to the doctor on staff that asked a bunch of stupid questions that were on my file. I hate every nurse asking me if this is my first pregnancy as though I have no idea what should and shouldn't be happening to my own body. It's rather annoying, especially when the doctor on the phone sounds about the same. Only one nurse thought I may be going into labor because it's my third pregnancy and she understood I knew what contractions felt like by now.

My only current problem is one that is bothering me but no one else: The umbilical cord is wrapped up in his hands near his neck. The 4D picture showed it quite clearly and if that is the reasoning behind why they are monitoring my fluid levels so much, I understand completely. Still, in the office it is though they tell me everything and then I go home to worry about questions I didn't even think about asking then.

Still have testing to do Tuesday. More information then I suppose.

More Answers



answers from Austin on

Drink lots of water. Also as pregnancy gets near tearm the fluid will begin to diminish on its own. This is normal. In my opinion "your fluid is low" is another term for "your doctor has something planned around your due date and has come up with this as a way to get you to agree to be induced."


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

I have to say...this is why I think late-term ultrasounds are such a load of $hit. OBs use it as a reason to induce all the time and there's no evidence that it improves outcomes for babies:(
Here are two articles:

5-25cms is normal range for AFI's, do you know what your AFI's are?
Inducing for low AFI's doesnt improve maternal and fetal outcomes.
AFI's can vary depending babys position, baby's urine output for the day, fluids consumed orally by mom and the tech tha does the u/s. You can have two different techs do an u/s the same day and get two different readings.
If you orally hydrate and your AFI's go up there is definitley no reason to induce. If they don't go up, then you try IV fluids.
Doctors want to induce for low AFI's because they are concerned about cord compression. Obviously pitocin is worse than low AFI's, not all women with low AFI's have cord compression either.

Just think of all the women who never have routine late-term ultrasounds to "catch" low AFIs. If the baby is showing signs of distress before labor, or during labor, THEN intervene, don't induce "just in case" since there's no evidence things will turn out any better.

PLEASE remember that "Full Term" DOES NOT = "ready to live outside the womb. There are 38 and 39 week old babies born with underdeveloped lungs. And unless you know the day you ovulated, your due date can be wrong by up to 2 weeks, which means you could be only 34 weeks along, not 36. Educate yourself, talk it over with your doctor and know the facts before you get talked into anything just because you're scared of what might happen if you don't do exactly what the OB says at every point.

Good Luck!!!!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I experienced a similar situation with my last pregnancy. Don't stress.... I know that is easier said than done. Drink lots of water, and rest, rest, rest (at least as much as possible.) I went back a few days later and was told that the levels were up slightly after taking it easy over the weekend and drinking more water? I don't know if I believe that the ultarsounds are all that accurate? My midwife did assure me that if my levels had been dangerously low I would have been sent directly to the hospital.
I heard that coconut water is good to drink when your amniotic fluid is low and can be found at your local healthfood store. Maybe even try some gatorade or vitamin water.

Good luck and try not to worry. Mother and baby will be just fine. :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry you have to go through this. I am actually the complete opposite of you and have too much fluid which I guess isn't the best either. I don't have any answers for you but wanted to let you know that I will say a prayer for you and your baby. I am sure everything will be just fine. Relax and stay positive as the baby can feel your stress. Make sure you drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Best of luck!!!



answers from Columbus on

I had a similar scenario with my 4 mo old. I was 39 or 40 weeks and they said my fluid was low also. They had me come in twice a week to ultrasound. I believe drinking lots of fluid can help and the reality is, it can't hurt and is worth doing in case it is helpful. I think you're supposed to do 32 or 48 oz 2-4 times a day. I was forcing myself to drink that much, but I didn't want to have to be induced (I wanted to do a natural birth), and since this baby wasn't showing any signs of coming on my projected due date I went for it. And seriously, resting (as much as possible with other little ones around) can help too. Turns out, one of the days I came in for an ultrasound about 1pm, and 5pm that evening I started labor. So, you just never know what your body has in mind. Be at peace!



answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.,
When I was pregnant with my son I went to my routine weekly doctor visit and was sent to the hospital as I was 'measuring big'. They did an ultrasound and found that my fluid was low. They estimated my son at 8lbs 6oz so they were not worried about his size. I was at 38 weeks and to my surprise we were admitted and had my son the next day! He was 6lbs 12 oz, a bit smaller than they thought, but still a perfect size. They never told me how low my fluid was either, but apparently it was low enough to induce immediately. Since they have let you go home and are wanting to do twice a week visits, I would not be too concerned (easier said than done, I totally understand!) Our doctor said that it wasn't necessarily that I was leaking fluid (although I was in a fairly serious car accident at about 32 weeks, which I think may have played a roll in this), but that the baby may be drinking more of the fluid. Just try to relax and stay hydrated. Best of luck to you, your family, and new little one to be!!!



answers from St. Louis on

I went in for an ultrasound at 36 weeks with my second baby and the largest pocket of fluid they found was 3cm. Two weeks prior the smallest pocket was 9cm. After my ultrasound they sent me straight to a NST. This was on a Wed - if the NST was normal I could go home but come back Friday for a c-section (my first was an emergency c-section so I chose another with this baby). If the NST showed the baby in any distress I would not have been allowed to go home and my baby would have been born that day. NST was fine and my little girl was born on a Friday weighing 5 lbs 5 oz. Perfectly healthy and is about to start preschool next week!
When my Dr examined the placenta after delivery, he found multiple blood clots. Clots had formed where my blood was entering the placenta and clots had formed in the blood vessels going to the umbilical cord. Basically he said the placenta was dying and my baby wasn't getting any nutrition from the placenta anymore.
Try to rest and drink more fluids - I too am not sure if drinking more can really help all that much. You are full term so don't worry too much - remember that everything else on your ultrasound was fine.
Best of luck to you and congratulations! Just think you get to see your little one real soon!
(I'm a little jealous because I'm 23 wks with my third and already wishing the preganancy was over :) It's been a hot summer!)

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