- With Mayo Clinic obstetrician and medical editor-in-chief
Roger W. Harms, M.D.read biographyclose window
Roger W. Harms, M.D.Roger W. Harms, M.D.
"Nothing helps people stay healthy more than the power of real knowledge about health." — Dr. Roger Harms
As medical director of content, Dr. Roger Harms is excited about the potential for Mayo Clinic's health information site to help educate people about their health and provide them the tools and information to live healthier lives.
The Auburn, Neb., native has been with Mayo Clinic since 1981 and is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Harms is a practicing physician and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and his specialty areas include office gynecology, high-risk obstetrics and obstetrical ultrasound.
From 2002 to 2007, Dr. Harms was director for education at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Harms was the 1988 Mayo Medical School Teacher of the Year and served as associate dean for student affairs and academic affairs. He is the co-author of the "Mayo Clinic Model of Education." In 2008, Dr. Harms was presented the Distinguished Educator Award, Mayo Clinic, Rochester.
Dr. Harms is vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and medical editor of the Pregnancy section on this website. In addition, Dr. Harms is editor-in-chief of the "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" book, a month-by-month guide to everything a woman needs to know about having a baby.
"My medical education experience has grown out of a love of teaching, and that is what this site is about," Dr. Harms says. "If any visitor to this site makes a more informed and thus more comfortable decision about his or her health because of the information we provide, we are successful."
Healthy pregnancy (18)
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First trimester (3)
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Second trimester (1)
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Third trimester (1)
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Pregnancy problems (9)
- Low amniotic fluid: How is it treated?
- Diastasis recti: How does pregnancy affect stomach muscles?
- Cervical length: Why does it matter during pregnancy?
- see all in Pregnancy problems
Low amniotic fluid: How is it treated?
What are the treatment options for low amniotic fluid during pregnancy?
from Roger W. Harms, M.D.
Few effective treatments exist for low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios).
During pregnancy, amniotic fluid provides a cushion that protects the baby from injury and allows room for growth, movement and development. Amniotic fluid also keeps the umbilical cord from being compressed between the baby and the uterine wall. In addition, the amount of amniotic fluid reflects the baby's urine output — which is an important measure of a baby's well-being.
Amniotic fluid normally decreases in the last weeks of pregnancy. Various factors can contribute to low amniotic fluid earlier in pregnancy, including:
- Your water breaking early (premature rupture of the amniotic sac)
- The placenta peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus — either partially or completely — before delivery (placental abruption)
- Certain health conditions in the mother, such as chronic high blood pressure or high blood pressure accompanied by excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy (preeclampsia)
- Use of certain medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Certain health conditions in the baby, such as restricted growth, a kidney or urinary tract problem, or a genetic disorder
If you're diagnosed with low amniotic fluid, your health care provider will carefully monitor your pregnancy to help prevent complications. He or she might recommend drinking more fluids — especially if you're dehydrated.
It's possible to temporarily increase the amount of amniotic fluid with a procedure known as amnioinfusion, in which saline is instilled into the amniotic sac. The effect is short-lived, however.
During prenatal care, amnioinfusion is usually done only to enhance ultrasound images. In this case, the saline is injected into the amniotic sac through a needle placed in the abdominal wall. Treatment will depend on what's detected through the ultrasound. Amnioinfusion might also be done during labor to relieve pressure on the umbilical cord. In this case, the saline is instilled into the amniotic sac through a catheter placed in the cervix. If the baby's heart rate drops too low or too often during labor or the umbilical cord is compressed, a C-section might be needed.Next question
Diastasis recti: How does pregnancy affect stomach muscles?
- Beloosesky R, et al. Oligohydramnios. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Spong C, et al. Amnioinfusion: Indications and outcome. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Rogue H, et al. Amnioinfusion: Technique. http://www.uptodate.com/index.html. Accessed May 23, 2011.
- Munn MB. Management of oligohydramnios in pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America. 2011;38:387.
- Kim BJ. Clinical significance of oligohydramnios in patients with preterm labor and intact membranes. Journal of Perinatal Medicine. 2011;39:131.