Overview of Amniotic Fluid and Its Purpose
About 10 to 12 days after conception, the amniotic sac (which fills with fluid) begins to form. In the first few weeks, it is made up of water and will eventually also contain urine from the developing baby. The amount of fluid increases as the pregnancy continues.
The amniotic fluid levels taper off around the 32nd or 33rd week at about a quart, and it usually remains at this amount until the baby reaches full-term (between 37 and 40 weeks).
Amniotic fluid surrounds and protects the baby while inside the mother’s uterus. It also plays a role in the baby’s growth and development, since it contains hormones, nutrients, and antibodies to fight diseases. Not until the second trimester does the baby begin to breathe and swallow the fluid.
This is necessary for the development of the gastrointestinal system and the lungs. Once the baby begins to move, the surrounding fluid assists in the development of bones and muscles.
When Amniotic Fluid Levels Are Too Low
Oligohydramnios occurs when amniotic fluids are too low. This can happen anytime during the pregnancy, but generally becomes a problem during the last trimester. According to the March of Dimes, this affects approximately four percent of pregnant women. However, for those women whose pregnancies go past their due date (into the 42nd week), about 12 percent of women will develop oligohydramnios.
Oligohydramnios could affect the lungs and limbs (such as clubfeet). It may also result in miscarriage, premature birth, or stillbirth if umbilical cord compression deprives the baby of oxygen.
Pregnant women should be wary of the following risk factors:
- certain blood pressure medications;
- premature amniotic sac rupture;
- health conditions, such as lupus, high blood pressure, pre-gestational diabetes; and
- pregnancy that goes two or more weeks past the due date.
When Amniotic Fluid Levels Are Too High
Polyhydramnios occurs when amniotic fluid levels are too high. The March of Dimes has stated that 20 percent of these pregnancies result in a birth defect. A birth defect may also cause polyhydramnios. For example, if the fetus has a defect that affects his or her ability to swallow, he or she may not swallow enough fluid to balance the production of amniotic fluid, which can result in abnormal fluid levels.
Polyhydramnios could also cause postpartum hemorrhaging in the mother or placental abruption, in which placenta partially or totally separates from the uterus while the baby is still in the womb. This condition could also prompt a cesarean delivery and premature delivery.
Risk factors include:
- birth defects;
- fetal infection;
- Rh incompatibility; and
- twin-twin transfusion syndrome (identical twin pregnancy where one fetus gets too little blood flow and the other gets too much).
Can I File a Birth Injury Claim?
If you have questions about your child’s cerebral palsy, attorneys Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt welcome you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also download or request Chris’ free, easy-to-read guide to filing a claim in Ohio.
Why Should I Trust Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt to Handle My Claim?
First, Mellino Robenalt does not advertise. Attorneys and satisfied clients send us the majority of our cases. Others find us online.
Second, Chris and Tom are respected throughout northeast Ohio for their ability to dig below the surface and make sure no fact is overlooked. In fact, Chris has been involved in several landmark cases, including Moskovitz v. Mt. Sinai Medical Center (1994) and Watkins_v._Cleveland_Clinic_Foundation (1998). In the latter, he and his previous partner were awarded the largest verdict in the state that year.
Third, personal injury and medical malpractice claims are time consuming and labor intensive, so we’re selective about the cases we accept. Some firms:
- take every case that walks in the door,
- settle those cases for the first amount the defendant offers, so they can fund their next commercial to bring in even more clients, and
- leave their clients in the hands of first-year associates, paralegals, or case managers.
We only pursue compensation for patients who’ve suffered a severe injury or disability. By limiting the number of cases we accept, we’re able to give each claim the attention it deserves.
Last but not least, since 2010, Mellino Robenalt is the only medical malpractice law firm in Cleveland to be accepted into Primerus, which screens potential members by speaking to judges, other lawyers, bar associations, clients, and insurance carriers about a firm’s integrity, work product, fee structure, education, civility, and community service.
If you have questions about abnormal amniotic fluid levels, a birth injury, or whether you still have time to file a claim in Ohio, attorneys Chris Mellino and Tom Robenalt welcome you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation.