The best way for your practitioner to evaluate your amniotic fluid is to use the amniotic fluid index, or AFI. Your doctor or ultrasound technician will measure the pockets of fluid in four areas of your uterus and add the measurements together to determine your final score on the index. The normal range is quite large: anything between 5 cm and 25 cm indicates that your baby has enough amniotic fluid to support his health. A total measurement of 5cm or less is cause for concern, and some precautions will need to be taken for the remainder of your pregnancy.
If you are diagnosed with oligohydramnios your doctor will want to monitor you very closely. You will likely receive weekly or more frequent ultrasounds to make sure that your amniotic fluid is not decreasing. You may be given non-stress tests or be asked to do fetal kick counts to see how your baby is doing. If your amniotic fluid decreases your doctor may want to induce labor. Low amniotic fluid may increase your risks of complications during labor. The concern with oligohydramnios is that the fluid may become so low that there is nothing cushioning the umbilical cord and it becomes compressed. If this happens, it can cause your baby to go into distress. To help avoid labor complications your doctor may insert a tube into your cervix during your labor that will fill your uterus with saline fluid. If your baby shows signs of distress a c-section may become necessary.