What Is Oligohydramnios Sequence?
Oligohydramnios is a condition that can develop
during pregnancy. It occurs when not enough amniotic fluid, which surrounds the
fetus, is produced. Oligohydramnios sequence is the pattern of abnormalities
that results. Oligohydramnios sequence, or Potter’s syndrome, can cause severe
abnormalities of the fetus.
Not all fetuses develop abnormalities because of
low levels of amniotic fluid.
Whether oligohydramnios sequence occurs depends
on the stage of pregnancy and how low amniotic fluid levels are.
Oligohydramnios occurs in about 4 percent of
pregnancies. Not all cases involve a severe decrease in fluid. Oligohydramnios
sequence occurs in about 1 in 4,000 births.
What Causes Oligohydramnios Sequence?
It is not always possible to determine what
causes low levels of amniotic fluid.
Oligohydramnios can be caused by a continuous
leaking of amniotic fluid. It can also occur when the fetus has kidney failure.
After about four months of pregnancy, the kidneys of a normal fetus will produce
the amniotic fluid. If the fetus has kidney abnormalities, the amount of
amniotic fluid may be too low.
Who Is at Risk for Oligohydramnios Sequence?
There appears to be a genetic reason for some causes of fetus
kidney failure. Two genetic diseases that can cause oligohydramnios sequence
are autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease and autosomal
recessive polycystic kidney disease.
A family history of certain renal diseases may
increase a woman’s risk of developing oligohydramnios sequence during pregnancy.
What Are the Symptoms Of Oligohydramnios Sequence?
Amniotic fluid serves a few different purposes
for the fetus. The fluid helps lubricate the fetus’s body parts and prevents
them from fusing. It also cushions the fetus and helps with lung development. Several
fetal symptoms can occur when amniotic fluid is too low.
Limited amniotic fluid makes the ammonic cavity
smaller than normal. This constricts the
fetus, which interferes with normal development and growth. The symptoms of oligohydramnios sequence in a fetus can
include facial abnormalities such as a broad nasal bridge, widely spaced eyes,
and low set ears.
When oligohydramnios sequence is caused by fetal
kidney failure, urine output after birth is low or absent. Limited amniotic
fluid also interferes with normal lung development. If a baby survives through
birth, he or she will likely have difficulty breathing (Penn
How Is Oligohydramnios Sequence Diagnosed?
A physician can diagnose oligohydramnios
sequence with an ultrasound. An ultrasound can detect low levels of amniotic
fluid and abnormal kidney development in the fetus.
Leaking amniotic fluid is another possible sign
of oligohydramnios sequence. Leaking does not always occur.
After a baby is born, an X-ray of the lungs and
kidneys can help a doctor check for abnormal development. This can help diagnose
oligohydramnios sequence in a newborn.
How Is Oligohydramnios Sequence Treated?t
There is currently no cure for oligohydramnios
sequence. In many cases, the condition
can cause a miscarriage. In other cases, the fetus is stillborn or dies shortly
after birth. If a baby survives until birth, resuscitation may be needed.
What Is the Outlook for Oligohydramnios Sequence?
The prognosis for oligohydramnios sequence is
usually very poor. The condition is usually fatal.
How Is Oligohydramnios Sequence Prevented?
According to the U.S. National Library of
Medicine, there is currently no known prevention for oligohydramnios sequence (U.S.
National Library of Medicine).