What Causes Low Fluid at 34 Weeks Pregnant?

Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds your baby in the womb.This clear-colored liquid protects the baby and provides it with fluids, reports the March of Dimes 1. Your baby breathes and swallows amniotic fluid. The medical term for low fluid is oligohydramnios 12. This may be diagnosed at any time during pregnancy, but is more common in the third trimester. There are several possible causes for oligohydramnios at 34 weeks pregnant.

Ruptured Membranes

A common cause of low fluid at 34 weeks pregnant is ruptured membranes. The membrane is the sac that holds the amniotic fluid. In some cases there may be a small rip or tear in the membrane. This causes a slow leakage of amniotic fluid from the vagina. Some women may not notice a small trickle of fluid, since normal vaginal secretions are usually increased during pregnancy. The membrane may also rupture suddenly, also known as your "water breaking." Both of these situations will cause low amniotic fluid and may put you at risk for infection. If you think you may be leaking amniotic fluid, contact your obstetrician. They will examine your vaginal fluid under a microscope to determine if you are leaking fluid.

Birth Defects

Problems with the development of the kidneys or urinary tract could cause little urine production, leading to low levels of amniotic fluid, states the American Pregnancy Association 2. Your baby should be swallowing fluid at 34 weeks, but if there is a problem with urine production, your baby will not excrete this fluid. This causes low amniotic fluid 12. Your obstetrician should be measuring your abdomen during each visit to make sure that you are measuring in the appropriate range. If oligohydramnios is suspected, she may order a sonogram to check your baby for birth defects.

Maternal Illness

According to the American Pregnancy Association, factors such as maternal dehydration, hypertension, preeclampsia and diabetes can have an effect on amniotic fluid levels 2. Hypertension and preeclampsia are conditions which result from high blood pressure. Your physician should be monitoring your blood pressure at every prenatal visit to ensure that your blood pressure remains stable. In the second trimester, you will be asked to take a glucose tolerance test, which is preformed to diagnose gestational diabetes. Maintaining adequate hydration is essential during pregnancy. At 34 weeks, maternal dehydration may lead to low fluid. Compliancy with routine prenatal care and testing is important to monitor you and your baby's health and prevent complications, such as low fluid, from occurring.