Amniotic fluid is the liquid that surrounds your baby when you're pregnant. The amniotic fluid is held in the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac forms inside of your uterus (womb) when you're pregnant. It contains your baby and the amniotic fluid. Your amniotic sac breaks open (ruptures) and amniotic fluid leaks out when labor starts. This is called having your "water break."
You have an amniotic fluid problem if you have too little or too much amniotic fluid.
Having too much amniotic fluid can cause you to have:
Doctors often don't know what causes you to have too much amniotic fluid. Sometimes, you can have too much amniotic fluid if you:
Having too little amniotic fluid can cause your baby’s body or lungs to grow abnormally.
You can have too little amniotic fluid if:
Your baby has kidney defects, other birth defects, hasn't grown as much as expected, or has died
Your placenta (the organ that feeds your unborn baby) isn't working right
Your pregnancy has lasted too long (42 weeks or more)
You used medicines that can cause this problem, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or an ACE inhibitor
Doctors might suspect a problem if your uterus isn’t the size it should be for how far along your pregnancy is. Also, they may notice an amniotic fluid problem during an ultrasound at a regular office visit. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create moving pictures of the insides of your uterus.
You might think that if you have too much amniotic fluid, doctors could just remove the extra fluid with a needle. Although that sometimes helps, it doesn't usually seem to make a difference. Instead, doctors:
Doctors will monitor your baby's growth and well-being using ultrasound and sometimes other tests. Unless there are other problems, they'll try to have you deliver the baby around your due date.