Oligohydramnios: a prospective study of fetal, neonatal and maternal outcomes in low-middle income countries

Lester Figueroa, Elizabeth M. McClure, Jonathan Swanson, Robert Nathan, Ana L. Garces, Janet L. Moore, Nancy F. Krebs, K. Michael Hambidge, Melissa Bauserman, Adrien Lokangaka, Antoinette Tshefu, Waseem Mirza, Sarah Saleem, Farnaz Naqvi, Waldemar A. Carlo, Elwyn Chomba, Edward A. Liechty, Fabian Esamai, David Swanson, Carl L. BoseRobert L. Goldenberg

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Oligohydramnios is a condition of abnormally low amniotic fluid volume that has been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. To date, the prevalence of this condition and its outcomes has not been well described in low and low-middle income countries (LMIC) where ultrasound use to diagnose this condition in pregnancy is limited. As part of a prospective trial of ultrasound at antenatal care in LMICs, we sought to evaluate the incidence of and the adverse maternal, fetal and neonatal outcomes associated with oligohydramnios. Methods: We included data in this report from all pregnant women in community settings in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who received a third trimester ultrasound as part of the First Look Study, a randomized trial to assess the value of ultrasound at antenatal care. Using these data, we conducted a planned secondary analysis to compare pregnancy outcomes of women with to those without oligohydramnios. Oligohydramnios was defined as measurement of an Amniotic Fluid Index less than 5 cm in at least one ultrasound in the third trimester. The outcomes assessed included maternal morbidity and fetal and neonatal mortality, preterm birth and low-birthweight. We used pairwise site comparisons with Tukey-Kramer adjustment and multivariable logistic models using general estimating equations to account for the correlation of outcomes within cluster. Results: Of 12,940 women enrolled in the clusters in Guatemala, Pakistan, Zambia and the DRC in the First Look Study who had a third trimester ultrasound examination, 87 women were diagnosed with oligohydramnios, equivalent to 0.7% of those studied. Prevalence of detected oligohydramnios varied among study sites; from the lowest of 0.2% in Zambia and the DRC to the highest of 1.5% in Pakistan. Women diagnosed with oligohydramnios had higher rates of hemorrhage, fetal malposition, and cesarean delivery than women without oligohydramnios. We also found unfavorable fetal and neonatal outcomes associated with oligohydramnios including stillbirths (OR 5.16, 95%CI 2.07, 12.85), neonatal deaths < 28 days (OR 3.18, 95% CI 1.18, 8.57), low birth weight (OR 2.10, 95% CI 1.44, 3.07) and preterm births (OR 2.73, 95%CI 1.76, 4.23). The mean birth weight was 162 g less (95% CI -288.6, - 35.9) with oligohydramnios. Conclusions: Oligohydramnos was associated with worse neonatal, fetal and maternal outcomes in LMIC. Further research is needed to assess effective interventions to diagnose and ultimately to reduce poor outcomes in these settings. Trial registration: NCT01990625.

Original languageEnglish
Article number19
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2020


  • Low and middle-income countries
  • Oligohydramnios
  • Pregnancy outcomes
  • Ultrasound


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