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One of the functions of amniotic fluid is to protect the fetus from impact and to help the development of the legs, muscles, lungs and digestive system of the fetus. Amniotic fluid is produced after the amniotic sac is formed or about 12 days after fertilization
Amniotic fluid is located in the amniotic sac. The color of the amniotic fluid is clear and slightly yellowish, but looks clear and odorless. It is in the amniotic fluid that the fetus floats, breathes, and moves.
The fetus also swallows the amniotic fluid, excretes it as urine, then swallows it again. This aims to maintain the stability of the volume of amniotic fluid. Too much or too little volume of amniotic fluid can harm pregnancy.
Composition and volume of amniotic fluid
Amniotic fluid is composed of water, electrolytes, peptides, carbohydrates, and hormones that are useful for supporting fetal development. In the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, the composition of amniotic fluid is dominated by fetal urine.
The volume of amniotic fluid will continue to increase during pregnancy. At 34 weeks pregnant, the amount of amniotic fluid will reach its peak, which is an average of 800 milliliters. The volume of amniotic fluid will increase to about 600 milliliters at 40 weeks of gestation.
The volume of amniotic fluid can be too much (polyhydramnios) or too little (oligohydramnios). Both of these conditions are dangerous for the development and safety of the fetus.
Therefore, regular pregnancy check-ups need to be done to find out the normal volume of amniotic fluid. The doctor will conduct a thorough examination, also use a pregnancy ultrasound to assess whether the volume of amniotic fluid is appropriate for the gestational age.
Amniotic Water Function
Amniotic fluid has many functions, especially to protect and maintain fetal development. The important functions of amniotic fluid include:
1. Giving space for the fetus
Amniotic fluid allows the fetus to have room to move. A fetus that moves frequently indicates that it is getting enough nutrients and oxygen.
2. Supports fetal development
The movement of the fetus in the womb helps to form and increase the strength of the muscles and bones of the Little One.
3. Maintain ideal temperature
The sac and amniotic fluid maintain the ideal temperature so that the fetus remains comfortable. The temperature of the amniotic fluid is usually slightly higher than that of the mother's body, which is around 37.6°C.
4. Detect genetic disorders
In certain conditions, the doctor may suggest genetic testing through a sample of the amniotic fluid in the mother's womb. This examination is called amniocentesis.
Examination can be done because the amniotic fluid contains flakes of fetal skin cells. This amniocentesis examination should be done when the pregnancy is 15–20 weeks.
5. Protects against impact
Amniotic fluid protects the fetus from shocks, impacts, or pressure on the mother's stomach.
6. Helps the development of the lungs
The fetus doesn't breathe the way we breathe. The fetus depends on the mother's breathing to receive oxygen. At 10–11 weeks of gestation, the fetus begins to inhale a small amount of amniotic fluid. Although inhaling, the movement is more like swallowing. This activity helps lung development.
Towards the age of 32 weeks of pregnancy, the fetus will begin to practice breathing movements which are a combination of swallowing and lung contractions.
7. Helps the development of the digestive system
Swallowing amniotic fluid plays an important role in the development of the fetal digestive system. Difficulty swallowing amniotic fluid can result in too much amniotic fluid volume, which can lead to pregnancy complications.
8. Protects from infection
Amniotic fluid plays a role in protecting the fetus from infection by stopping the growth of certain types of bacteria.
The amniotic sac will generally rupture before birth. When your baby is ready to be born, amniotic fluid will flow from the vagina. After that, you may experience stronger and more regular contractions.
Immediately go to the nearest he alth service if premature rupture of the membranes occurs, the amniotic fluid is thick green and smells bad, or you have a fever before delivery. To determine whether your amniotic fluid is appropriate for gestational age or not, consult a doctor.