Amniotic Fluid Embolism

This occurs where the amniotic fluid passes into the mother’s blood. The amniotic fluid contains fetal cells, that will lead to an immune reaction from the mother’s immune system.

This immune reaction to cells from the foetus leads to a systemic illness.

There are two main risk factors for amniotic fluid embolus:

  • Increasing maternal age
  • Induction of labour



Presentation is usually around the time of labour and delivery, but can be postpartum:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Respiratory failure
  • Tachycardia
  • Hypotension
  • Fever
  • Haemorrhage



Management is supportive and requires involvement from critical care.

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