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Labor & Delivery

Q&A: What Is An Amnioinfusion?

What is an amnioinfusion? Why might I need one?

If, during labor, your baby's heart rate dips down below a certain level, your doctor might decide you should have an amnioinfusion. In this procedure, sterile saline is delivered into the amniotic cavity through a plastic tube. The idea is that baby's low heart rate could mean that there's extra pressure or tension on the umbilical cord, and the extra fluid helps provide a cushion to ease the tension. If the procedure goes as planned, the amnioinfusion could eliminate the need for an emergency c-section, so baby can have a vaginal birth and stay healthy — afterward, you'll likely recover normally.

By Ashley S. Roman, MD, ob-gyn and clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine