Amniotic fluid embolism is a rare and severe pregnancy complication. In this condition, the amniotic fluid that surrounds your fetus and fetal antigens enter maternal circulation. This results in hypoxia, hypotension, and coagulopathy.
The fetal antigens in the mother’s bloodstream trigger the inflammatory cascade and causes organ damage, especially heart and lungs. Amniotic fluid embolism usually occurs during delivery or immediately after the delivery.
In amniotic fluid embolism, there is an abrupt onset of symptoms which include the following:
Amniotic fluid embolism is considered to be unpredictable with unclear cause. However, it occurs when amniotic fluid and other fetal material enters the mother’s bloodstream. A breakdown in the placental barrier due to trauma may result in the leakage of amniotic fluid into the maternal circulation. As a result of trauma, the immune system responds by causing an inflammatory reaction. This reaction leads to the formation of abnormal clots in the lungs and heart of the mother.
Though there is no proper evidence, risk of developing amniotic fluid embolism is increased by the following factors:
Amniotic fluid embolism is a life-threatening condition that may cause serious complications for you and your baby. The complications include:
Your doctor may suspect amniotic fluid embolism if a classic triad occurs during the labor or after the delivery which includes sudden hypoxia, hypotension (decreased blood pressure), and coagulopathy (clotting abnormalities). Your doctor may recommend the following tests:
Amniotic fluid embolism requires an immediate treatment that involves supportive management. The initial emergency management includes the following:
Because of high maternal and fetal mortality rates, dealing with amniotic fluid embolism is a stressful event. Severe complications may be associated with the condition, and you may require a lengthy hospital stay. To cope up with the life-threatening pregnancy condition, discuss with your health care provider regarding the safe management of your recovery as well as, your baby’s recovery.