Amniotic fluid embolisms are rare, which makes it difficult to identify risk factors. It's estimated that there are between 1 and 12 cases of amniotic fluid embolism for every 100,000 deliveries.
Research suggests that several factors might be linked to an increased risk of an amniotic fluid embolism, however, including:
Sept. 27, 2012
- Advanced maternal age. If you're 35 or older at the time of your child's birth, you might be at increased risk of an amniotic fluid embolism.
- Placenta problems. If there are abnormalities in your placenta — the structure that develops in your uterus during pregnancy — you might be at increased risk of an amniotic fluid embolism. Abnormalities might include the placenta partially or totally covering the cervix (placenta previa) or the placenta peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery (placental abruption). These conditions can disrupt the physical barriers between you and your baby.
- Preeclampsia. If you have preeclampsia — high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy — you might be at increased risk of developing an amniotic fluid embolism.
- Medically induced labor. Limited research suggests that certain labor induction methods are associated with an increased risk of amniotic fluid embolism. Research on this link, however, is conflicting.
- Operative delivery. Having a C-section, a forceps delivery or a vacuum extraction might increase your risk of an amniotic fluid embolism. These procedures can disrupt the physical barriers between you and your baby. It's not clear, however, whether operative deliveries are true risk factors for amniotic fluid embolisms or are used after the condition develops to ensure a rapid delivery.
- Genetics. Some experts believe that genetics might play a role in determining a woman's risk of amniotic fluid embolism.
- Monga M. Amniotic fluid embolism: A diagnostic dilemma. Critical Care Medicine. 2012;40:2236.
- Kramer MS, et al. Amniotic fluid embolism: Incidence, risk factors and impact on perinatal outcome. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2012;119:874.
- Knight M, et al. Amniotic fluid embolism incidence, risk factors and outcomes: A review and recommendations. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2012;12:7.
- Caputo M, et al. Severe ischemic complications caused by second trimester amniotic fluid embolism. International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2012;116:175.
- Benson MD. Current concepts of immunology and diagnosis in amniotic fluid embolism. Clinical and Developmental Immunology. 2012;2012:1.
- Roberts CL, et al. Amniotic fluid embolism in an Australian population-based cohort. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2010;117:1417.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6363736. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- DeCherney AH, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment Obstetrics & Gynecology.10th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=9. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Williams Obstetrics. 23rd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2010. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=46. Accessed July 18, 2012.
- Sibai BM. Management of Acute Obstetric Emergencies. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:71.
- Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 32nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: W.B. Saunders; 2011. http://dorlands.com/index.jsp. Accessed July 26, 2012.
- Abenhaim HA, et al. Incidence and risk factors of amniotic fluid embolisms: A population-based study on 3 million births in the United States. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2008;199:49.e1.
- Gist RS, et al. Amniotic fluid embolism. Anesthesia and Analgesia. 2009;108:1599.
- Baldisseri MR. Amniotic fluid embolism syndrome. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed July 31, 2012.