Amniotic fluid embolism is very rare. It usually occurs during late pregnancy but may occur when an abortion is done during the 1st or 2nd trimester.
Risk is increased when
The fluid or tissue can cause a serious reaction in the woman. The reaction usually occurs during or shortly after labor and delivery. The woman may have a rapid heart rate, an irregular heart rhythm, low blood pressure, and difficulty breathing. She may stop breathing (respiratory failure), or her heart may stop (cardiac arrest). About 20% of women with amniotic fluid embolism die.
Disseminated intravascular coagulation is a common complication. In this disorder, small blood clots develop throughout the bloodstream, resulting in widespread bleeding with massive loss of blood. Emergency care is required.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of amniotic fluid embolism are essential. Doctors diagnose this problem based on symptoms, particularly when a woman has the following three symptoms:
Women may be given a transfusion of blood and blood components. Injection of a blood clotting factor (which helps blood clot) may be lifesaving. Women may require assistance with breathing or drugs to help the heart contract.
The baby may be delivered immediately using forceps or a vacuum extractor, or cesarean delivery may be done. Such a delivery does not appear to improve or worsen the woman's outcome. However, it may be lifesaving for the fetus if the fetus is old enough to survive outside the uterus.