The Importance of Amniotic Fluid

If you are pregnant, you’ve heard of amniotic fluid. It’s the water like substance that supports and protects your baby. You may not be aware of all the functions of the fluid. It really is amazing and important to your baby’s health.

Amniotic fluid serves several purposes. It allows your baby to move freely in the uterus. The fluid provides buoyancy while the baby moves and prevents injury. It cushions the baby from injury.

The fluid contains nutrients for the baby. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, electrolytes and lipids. These nourish the baby and help him grow while in the uterus. The baby drinks the fluid and learns to swallow.

The fluid also helps the baby learn to breathe. The baby breathes the fluid in and out during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. This helps the lungs develop and gives the baby practice breathing.

Amniotic fluid is also important for regulating the baby’s temperature. Even in very cold or very hot weather, the baby’s temperature remains constant. He won’t be bothered by winter or summer temperature extremes.

Your doctor will measure the amount of fluid to help keep track of your progress. This is done during the ultrasound and when your belly is measured at doctor’s visits. If you are measuring either too big or too small, that can be an indication that there is either too much or too little fluid. Either can be a problem.

If you have too little fluid, this is known as oligohydramnios. This occurs when there is less than 200 ml of fluid. Complications from this condition can include constriction of the cord, intrauterine growth restriction and fetal distress. Diabetes can cause a low fluid level.

Too much fluid is known as polyhydramnios. This occurs when there is 2000 ml of fluid or more. This often occurs with multiple pregnancies or diabetes. Polyhydramnios can cause pre term labor. Cord prolapse and placenta abruption are some complications that can be caused by too much fluid.

Severe complications from these conditions are rare. The conditions are often detected in time to help prevent problems. This is another reason why it can be important to have regular prenatal care during your pregnancy.

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About Pattie Hughes

Pattie Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four young children. She and her husband have been married since 1992. Pattie holds a degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. Just before her third child was born, the family relocated to Pennsylvania to be near family. She stopped teaching and began writing. This gives her the opportunity to work from home and be with her children. She enjoys spending time with her family, doing crafts, playing outside at the park or just hanging out together.