In India the doctor will send you for another scan at 30 weeks. I’m not exactly sure what they are looking for or checking on but it’s something they like to do. In the UK a pregnant lady would not be sent for a scan after their 20 week one, unless something was amiss or needed checking.
We had a different sonographer to usual, a man this time. He seemed friendly enough. That was until he said “mmm, you have slightly low amniotic fluid”. OK, so what does this mean, I asked. “Ask your doctor” was the response. I asked if it had anything to do with high sugar levels since I had had my glucose test recently. He said no and that I should just eat more protein.
When we left the hospital we called our midwife to mention it to her. Relaxed as ever she said that amniotic fluid fluctuates throughout pregnancy and unless it was desperately low there was nothing to worry about. She agreed that I should eat more protein and take rest, but so long as I could feel the baby moving as regularly as s/he had been there was no cause for concern.
Two weeks later we went to the doctor and she checked over our results from the scan. He eyes widened and she said “why didn’t you come to me earlier with this? Your amniotic fluid is REALLY low”. Of course I panicked. To give you some background, in the UK/US/Europe they mostly determine amniotic fluid levels by measuring the pockets of fluid in four areas around the baby, they add together these measurements, in cm and this gives an AFI (amniotic fluid index) which should be somewhere between 5cm-25cm. Mine was reading 2.8cm.
Low amniotic fluid can be a cause for concern for a few reasons; it can indicate there might be a problem with baby’s kidney function, it can lead to physical deformities like club foot as baby doesn’t have enough room to manoeuvre and it can cause complications during labour as the cord can become compressed depriving baby of much needed blood and oxygen.
The doctor questioned how I was feeling and weather or not baby had changed their moving pattern. On both counts I had positive responses. She prescribed me with amino acids to take in the form or a capsule twice a day and a sachet 3 times day. Advised that I lay out every 2 hours to ensure maximum blood flow to the baby and said I need to eat a high protein diet with lots and lots of fluids. I left the hospital feeling a little worried!
Once again we called the midwife and she was also pretty shocked by how low our AFI was, this of course worried us further! Luckily she was coming over the next day for ante-natal classes so we were able to chat in more detail. Lina measured my fundal heigh (the distance from pubic bone to the top of my uterus when lying on my back) and informed me that I was not too small for my gestation (as I had been told) but that I was on the small side. She also palpated my tummy and said that baby felt fine with plenty of room. Finally she sent my report to her colleague to see if there was something we were missing on the reading of 2.8cm. It turns out that many places in India measure a single pocket of fluid and if this is their means then the reading should be between 2cm and 5cm. Our report actually stated “Single Pocket Measuring 2.8cm”! Ahhh, we finally cracked it. Yes, I was mildly on the low side, but nothing so drastic as we had thought. Phew.
I’m happy to report that 3 weeks on baby is still squirming and worming frequently and I am sure he/she is coming along fine.
To read more about Low Amniotic Fluid or Oligohydramnious – Click here for Baby Centre’s take on the matter.