What is amniotic fluid, you might ask?
"Amniotic fluid is a clear or slightly yellow fluid which is found within the first 12 days following conception, within the amniotic sac. It surrounds the growing baby in the uterus. " -VeryWellHealth
Ok, so it's the watery stuff your baby gets to hang out in for nine months. But why
do we need it?
Well, it's actually pretty amazing stuff!
Initially created from the mother’s own plasma, it is primarily water until week 12 or so. At that time, you begin to see other things, like electrolytes, lipids, carbohydrates, hormones, and other things that aid in baby growth. You will also find urea.
It has several functions including:
Fully surrounding and acting as cushion for your baby, protecting it if you fall or injure your stomach.
Potentially helping to prevent cord compression and tangling.
Facilitating movement for the fetus, which is necessary for proper growth and development of the skeletal and muscular system!
Protecting baby from infections through it's antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
Maintaining a steady temperature, which prevents loss of body heat.
Digestive system development (swallowing and excreting amniotic fluid is exactly how baby practices for eating and drinking).
Promoting pulmonary system development (again, the swallowing and excreting amniotic fluid).
For the majority of people, your water will break during labor, with about fifteen percent of mothers having it break before labor begins. It can also be artificially broken (AROM) by labor and delivery staff during labor, if there is a need (though it's not often necessary).
Can there be issues with your amniotic fluid? Yes.
Too little fluid is called oligohydramnios, while too much is called polyhydramnios. You can also begin leaking prematurely. These issues would all be overseen by your team of OB/GYNs, but thankfully, they are considered rare.
If you are like me and appreciate watching videos or listening, instead of (or in addition to) reading about topics, we've included a few short, interesting clips from good old Youtube. Enjoy!
Are you interested in learning more prenatal and infant development? Join us in our Childbirth Education or BabyBasics courses, linked here: