Amniotic Fluid Definition:
What is amniotic fluid: It is the protective liquid that is present in the amniotic cavity. Amnio fluid is present in the amniotic cavity. It protects the growing baby from trauma during pregnancy, provides a medium for fetal growth, and prevents infection of a fetus when exposed to the external environment. It is present before birth, and it disappears soon after the baby is born. It provides cushioning to the fetus against any injuries or traumas during pregnancy, and it reduces fetal movement so that no minor damage occurs. It also provides a medium for fetal growth and prevents infection of a fetus when exposed to the external environment. It is also a good source of nutrition for the fetus.
Amniotic Fluid Overview:
It is a clear, slightly yellowish fluid surrounding the baby in the womb. The fluid helps protect the baby from injury and infection. The fluid also helps the baby grow and develop. It is produced by the mother’s body and the baby’s kidneys. The number of fluid increases during the last few weeks of pregnancy.
At the end of pregnancy, the average fluid level is about 30 cm (12 inches). The level usually decreases slowly as labor approaches. When labor begins, the baby’s head drops down into the pelvis and pushes the fluid out. The amount of fluid in the uterus decreases by about 1/2 cup when a woman has early labor contractions. This decrease in the fluid is regular. However, when there isn’t much fluid left, it can cause problems for the baby. After birth, you’ll probably have only a few tablespoons of amniotic liquid left.
What Does Amniotic Fluid Look Like?
What Does Amniotic Fluid Smell Like?
The fluid doesn’t have a smell. It is typically clear and odorless, but it may taste slightly salty. It also feels cool to the touch.
Composition of Amniotic Fluid:
It contains water, electrolytes, fat, protein, carbohydrates, vitamin, and minerals. The fluid also contains urea produced from the breakdown of protein in the body, and it also contains minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. In addition, urine from the fetus also mixes with amniotic fluid. The water concentration in the fluid is higher than that in urine or blood plasma.
Functions of Amniotic Fluid:
Amniotic fluid plays a vital role in a baby’s life during the gestation period. Some of them are given below:
- Protects growing baby from trauma during pregnancy
- Provides a medium for fetal growth
- It prevents infection of the fetus when exposed to the external environment.
- Maintains a constant environment for the growing baby
- It helps the lungs expand and develop properly before birth.
- Helps regulate a constant body temperature for the baby.
- Protects membranes from compression and puncture from abrupt movements of the fetus.
- Helps maintain the normal body temperature of the baby.
- Provides an energy source for the fetus via carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids.
- Keeps harmful bacteria away from the baby.
- It prevents the umbilical cord from becoming compressed against the baby.
- Provides nutrients for fetal development.
- It helps keep a stable internal environment in case of abrupt changes in the external environment, e.g., during a hurricane or other natural disasters when pregnant mothers have to be moved to a safe place in haste, without packing many things.
- It can be a diagnostic tool for specific congenital disabilities and problems with the baby’s development.
- It can be a predictor of labor by measuring the decrease in the amount of fluid as labor approaches.
- After birth, it helps remove the baby’s wastes.
- Provides cushioning for the baby during birth
- Help keep amniotic fluid levels constant.
- It helps hold your baby in an ideal head-down position for delivery by filling up the curved portion of the woman’s uterus.
- It May help trigger labor contractions.
- It can be used to measure the baby’s gestational age.
- It can be used to monitor the baby’s well-being during labor and delivery.
- It can be a source of stem cells used in regenerative medicine therapies.
Development of Amniotic Fluid
- Origin of Amniotic Fluid
During pregnancy, the amniotic sac fills with a liquid containing fetal urine. This fluid keeps the fetus’s skin moisturized and protected from rubbing against the uterus wall. It also allows for free movement of the fetus by providing space to swim. The embryo begins secreting fluids into the amnion (outer membrane) at about the fourth development week. Fetal urine starts to form after the 8th week and accounts for most amniotic fluid until the near term. Small amounts of amniotic fluid are also derived from maternal blood, skin cells, and cervical mucous. In some patients leaked amniotic fluid was also seen.
2. Checking Amniotic Fluid
Ultrasound machines and fetoscopes are medical devices used to detect amniotic fluid. Ultrasounds can be used interactively by the doctor, while fetoscopes are used in real-time by trained professionals.
During an ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves are passed into the uterus. After being absorbed or deflected by various body components, bounce back to a receiver that converts the echoes into electrical signals. A computer is then used to translate these signals into pictures of the baby and the mother’s womb. Depending on the machine used, these images can be seen in black and white or color.
Fetoscopes are long, thin tubes containing light and a magnifying lens. They are inserted into the uterus through the vagina and passed along until they reach the baby. Fetal blood vessels, amniotic fluid, and fetal tissue can be observed. These devices are used in place of ultrasound machines when the pregnancy is too far along to use ultrasound or when there is a need to keep the baby’s position secret.
Amniotic Fluid Disease
Many diseases can affect the amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE), for example, is a rare event in which amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream. This can cause severe heart attack, stroke, and even death. Afe birth is very rare but dangerous.
Another severe condition affecting amniotic fluid is Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS). Amniotic band syndrome occurs when fibrous bands form within the amnion. This causes limb deformation, blood flow constrictions, and other problems. Amniotic band syndrome can also lead to Amniotic Fluid Embolisms, as the bands may break loose and travel into the mother’s bloodstream.
Many other conditions can affect the amniotic fluid. It is essential to understand these problems so that you will be aware of what is happening and what your doctor is most likely doing to solve them if they arise during your pregnancy.