Amniotic Fluid Embolism occurs when amniotic fluid, fetal cells, hair, or other materials enter the blood system of a pregnant woman. usually via tears in the uterus or cervix during labor and delivery, or through partial separation of the placenta.
Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is a very rare and life threatening complication during pregnancy or childbirth, occuring in about less than 1 in 50,000 pregnancies. In one case series, the mortality rate was 20% or 1 in 5 women with amniotic fluid embolism.
Signs of amniotic fluid embolism
Signs of AFE include sudden shortness of breath and hypotension (low blood pressure). This can be followed by heart failure and seizures with massive bleeding associated with abnormal blood clotting (coagulopathy).
When does AMNIOTIC FLUID EMBOLISM Happen?
Amniotic Fluid Embolism can occur in otherwise healthy women
- during labor,
- during caesarean section,
- after vaginal delivery, or
- during the second trimester of pregnancy.
- it may also occur up to 48 hours post delivery.
Risk Factors for AMNIOTIC FLUID EMBOLISM
- Older maternal age
- Caesarean section
- Multiparity (more than one child)
- Labor induction
- Fetal distress
- Fetal death
- Male baby
- Intense contractions
- Abdominal trauma
- Tears in the uterus or cervix
- Early separation of the placenta from the uterus wall
- Intestinal material from the foetus entering the woman’s blood stream
TREATMENT OF AMNIOTIC FLUID EMBOLISM (AFE)
Most treatment addresses individual symptoms. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and blood product transfusions may be required. If the woman is still pregnant, the fetus is usually monitored closely for signs of distress.