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Your uterus fills with fluid - also known as amniotic fluid - during pregnancy, and this fluid reduces the risk of complications later in pregnancy. We may not give enough thought to the important role amniotic fluid plays in the safety of your baby. Amniotic fluid also acts as a kind of punching bag and protects the baby from things inside and out. Further on in this blog we explain in detail what amniotic fluid is and why it is so important for your baby. 

What is amniotic fluid? 

The uterus fills with fluid - or also called amniotic fluid - during pregnancy. During the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, it is very important that the uterus be filled with enough amniotic fluid. This is done by the fluid from the mom's bloodstream. The amniotic fluid consists mainly of fluid, salts and cells. In this fluid, the baby gets its vitamins from. Because when you are about four months pregnant then your baby starts to swallow the amniotic fluid and also urinates it out again. We hear you thinking: is my baby swimming in its own urine? It may sound a little gross, but yes, he does! However, this is not harmful to your baby and also ensures that the uterus continues to refresh the amniotic fluid (Twerda, 2020). 

What is the function of amniotic fluid? 

Amniotic fluid is very important when we talk about the safety of your baby. It protects the little one from things inside and outside. Your baby is incredibly vulnerable. So you can do everything you can to protect your baby, but it's still nice to have another backup. Amniotic fluid, thank you! But the amniotic fluid, among other things, serves as or helps with the:

  • Temperature regulation - The amniotic fluid provides a constant and perfect temperature for your baby in the womb. 
  • Umbilical cord - gives protection against being squeezed shut. 
  • Infections - Protects against infections in the womb. 
  • Pad - the moisture possibly cushions bumps or movements. 
  • Training for your little - Because your little one swims in the water, he trains his muscles. 
  • Respiration and digestion - Beginning at month four, your baby will swallow the amniotic fluid and excrete it.
    (Pregnancy Portal, 2020)

Too little amniotic fluid

Yes, complications can also occur. Some women have too much amniotic fluid and some too little. If this occurs then chances are there is something wrong with mom or baby. We'll go over both with you. Too little amniotic fluid is also called by a difficult word oligohydramion called. This has unpleasant consequences for your baby. This is because it can cause insufficient maturation of the lungs, growth retardation or that the umbilical cord is compressed during delivery. 

Too little amniotic fluid can be due to:

If this problem is discovered early in the pregnancy, the gynecologist will keep a close eye on it (Pregnancy Portal, 2020)!

Too much amniotic fluid

With too much amniotic fluid, the mom may experience back pain, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, swollen ankles and/or a rapidly growing uterus. Excessive amniotic fluid fortunately occurs in only 1% of pregnant women and often passes on its own. If it does not remedy itself, a amniocentesis be performed. 

Excessive amniotic fluid can be due to:

  • A multiple pregnancy
  • A genetic disorder or Down syndrome in your baby 
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Another abnormality in your baby that causes him not to swallow enough amniotic fluid 

(Pregnancy Portal, 2020)

Thank you amniotic fluid for taking such good care of and protecting your baby, in addition to being a mom. We're sure that as a mom, you do everything you can to keep your baby safe, but knowing that you have a fine backup must surely be a nice feeling. It is always special how the body works when you are pregnant!

Sources:

Twerda, C. (2020, March 10). Pregnant? 7 things you need to know about amniotic fluid. Health&Co. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://www.gezondheidenco.nl/zwanger-7-dingen-moet-weten-vruchtwater/

Pregnancy Portal. (2020). Amniotic fluid: everything you need to know. Accessed October 31, 2021, from https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/zwanger/vruchtwater-alles-wat-je-moet-weten

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