Friday, Jan 27, 2023

Twist in the tale

Unlike last time,I was not worried at all when I went to doctor for the routine check-up this month.

Unlike last time,I was not worried at all when I went to doctor for the routine check-up this month. I was doing fine,upbeat as the feeling of being pregnant was finally sinking in,with the baby kicking in full glory. My doctor greeted me with her usual smile and checked my weight,which had not increased since early April. Was it a sign to worry? She did not say so,at least,as she asked me to lie down. I was waiting for her to say her usual lines — “baby is doing fine”,“you are going great” and so on. But her face changed soon after she put her hands on my stomach and pressed it all over,trying to feel the baby. After hearing the foetal heart rate on the small audio machine,all she said was “the baby is ok”.

Asking me to get down from the table and sit,she went out of the room. On coming back,she told me that I was late for a USG today and asked me to come again for the purpose four days later. Our faces had also changed by then,with my husband and I looking curiously at her. USG at 25 weeks? Why?

Explaining,my doctor said the baby was in a breech (upside down) position during my last scan,which was okay because it keeps moving in any case,but it seemed to have not changed its position since and she could not make out its growth on a general examination. Assuring that there was nothing to panic,she told us the USG was only to make sure the baby was growing nicely. My upper abdomen was very stiff that day and I was told this was because the baby was in the head-up position. But with the stiffness gone by the next evening,I was sure everything was fine.

In the USG room on the specified day,the radiologist said the baby’s growth was perfect. The weight was right according to the gestational age and she showed me the head,legs and feet of my little one. I heaved a sigh of relief and cheerfully went to the doctor’s cabin. “Are you working?” She asked me during the check-up. As I nodded in agreement,she told me to immediately take a break,advising complete rest for at least two weeks. The reason: amniotic fluid in the sac was less than required.

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Explaining,she said this fluid is required for the baby to float around and grow,and that its production gets hampered due to several reasons. Since my blood pressure and sugar levels were normal,the reason for less fluid could be the heat or any kind of stress.

As I wrote in my last blog that I felt drained out after spending around two hours by the cooking gas,and with all that sweating causing dehydration,heat could well be the reason. As far as stress is concerned,it is for sure that there is nothing at home that gives me stress,but cannot say the same thing about office. Hence,no office for two weeks,the doctor announced. What happens after that will depend on my next visit to her.

What an anti-climax! While I was hoping to remain active and work till the 34th week,at least,so that I could spend most of my maternity leave with the baby,here I am lying down on my left side most of the time,as advised,besides eating and whiling away my time. And it is only 26th week. Doctors say the right amount of rest will produce the required fluid and I better not think too much about it and stress myself further. If all goes well,I may be allowed to go back to work.


Low amniotic fluid,or oligohydramnios when the fluid level goes below the minimum 5-cm mark,usually occurs in the third trimester — the fluid level decreases on its own towards the end of the term — but not uncommon a little earlier,especially in the summer months due to maternal dehydration. According to experts,oligohydramnios can lead to kidney dysfunction in the baby or some other disorders. Polyhydramnios,when the fluid level is more than required,is risky too. The advice for me — my fluid count is on the lower side of the normal range — is to drink lots of water and eat watery fruits and vegetables,like watermelons,melons and cucumber. Tender coconut water is very good to treat this condition,and if you are a non-vegetarian,there is nothing like fish. Another advice I got was to stay away from foods that generate heat in the body. While I was already not having tea and coffee,the list now includes hot milk too,besides dryfruits,eggs and chicken. With the doctor prescribing rest,I am off kitchen now. After my husband took control for a couple of days,my cook is back,relieving me of a big stress.

My doctor and others said low amniotic fluid was a common occurrence and most pregnant women found this condition at some stage or the other. But with searches on the Internet throwing up some scary results,keeping stress at bay,when you are alone at home with nothing else to do and think,is a tough task. The solace comes from the fact that in my case the fluid level is not alarmingly low,or hasn’t gone below the range,and hope all this rest and good food will do the needful.

I liked what the last-generation mothers — my mother,mother-in-law,aunts — had to say after hearing all this. Chipping in from different corners of the country,they came up with more or less the same statement,and they made sense too. During their time,a pregnant woman went to doctor once or twice during the whole term,unless they had any specific problem,and still delivered healthy babies. And many of them were working women too. “Every check-up now throws up some new condition or the other,which is usually not there during the next examination most of the time,” an aunt told me,trying to cheer me up.


My fingers are crossed as I wait for the two weeks to end,when it will be time for another USG.

First published on: 28-05-2011 at 14:34 IST
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