Medical Miracle: Baby Born at 29 Weeks After Amniotic Fluid Completely Drained Out

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 8, 2014   |   5:09PM   |   Bangalore, India

In a medical miracle in India, a baby was born at 29 weeks of pregnancy after the amniotic fluid inside the mother’s womb completely dried out.

Inside a pregnant woman’s uterus is an amniotic sac, which contains amniotic fluid and the growing baby. The amniotic fluid is important to help keep the baby warm, and because his body parts are growing so fast, the fluid provides lubrication that keeps an unborn child from growing together. In some cases, fingers and toes can become webbed as a result of not enough amniotic fluid circulating in the uterus. Amniotic fluid also helps the baby’s lungs develop.

The amniotic fluid also lets the baby move easily so he can exercise his muscles and strengthen his bones before he’s born and it acts like a liquid shock absorber for the baby by distributing any force that may push on the mother’s uterus. The baby swallows amniotic fluid, which then passes through his digestive system, into his kidneys, and back out again to the amniotic sac as urine. In this way, he can practice using his digestive and urinary systems before he’s even born. In fact, doctors can tell by the amount of amniotic fluid whether the baby has difficulty with his swallowing reflex.

But in this rare case, the baby’s mother had her amniotic fluid completely drained out at just 19 weeks of her pregnancy. The New India Express reports on this medical exception:

The amniotic sac in the mother’s womb protects and supports the development of the baby. But 36-year-old Lisa Rao, a native of Kolkata, who has been in Bangalore for 10 years, had a premature rupture of membrane of the sac causing her amniotic fluid to completely drain out. Lisa was immediately hospitalised. She had earlier suffered a subchorionic haemorrhage that caused her placenta to tear during the 14th week of her pregnancy.

“My pregnancy was traumatic from the 14th week. After the sac ruptured, I had no hope as it was mentally and physically taxing,” she said. Dr Anita Balakrishna, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospital, said the breach in the barrier between Lisa’s womb and the environment had exposed her to a lot of infection as nearly 75 percent of the membrane had been separated.

“The baby was just around 300 to 400 grams heavy and between 19 and 28 weeks. It was not possible to deliver the baby. The patient had already developed chorioamnionitis where the foetal membrane swells due to infection,” she said.

Even as the amniotic fluid was completely dry, Lisa’s baby was wrapped in the membrane with no space left for growth and movement of limbs. However, ultrasound parameters indicated that the baby was developing and there was no bad prognosis, Dr Anita said.

Lisa continued to leak amniotic fluid sporadically and doctors feared her baby would develop thoracic rib cage deformities and pulmonary hypoplasia leading to incomplete development of lungs.