22 January

What is amniotic fluid?

Many pregnant women are concerned about their baby getting hurt with the slightest blow to their abdomen. It is a valid concern, but at the same time, it is good to know, that nature has an amazing way to protect your foetus. The baby is surrounded in the uterus by amniotic fluid , which is present with in the amniotic sac.

The amniotic fluid is the protective liquid which is contained in the amniotic sac. This fluid serves as a cushion or a shock absorber for the growing baby and protects it from external shocks. It also serves to facilitate the exchange of nutrients, water, and biochemical products between mother and fetus.

Amniotic fluid is produced from the maternal plasma and also by the fetal tissues. It is formed as early as first few days after conception, and consists of water from the mother’s plasma, and as is minimal, but as early as 16th week and as the kidneys of the fetus develops and becomes functional,  part of the amniotic fluid is made up of the fetal urine. It is around 25 ml in 10th week and increases to around 400 ml by 20th week and reaches a quantity of almost 800 ml to a liter at the time of birth of the baby.

The amniotic fluid may contain apart from water proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and phospholipids, and urea, nutrients and hormones all of which aid in the growth of the fetus

Functions of amniotic fluid

  • Amniotic fluid protects the developing baby by cushioning against blows to the mother's abdomen
  • It allows for easier fetal movement and promoting muscular and skeletal development.
  • Amniotic fluid swallowed by the fetus helps in the formation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Analysis of amniotic fluid can reveal many aspects of the baby's genetic health as well as the age and viability of the fetus
  • As the baby develops, it breathes and swallows amniotic fluid and also passes out its urine in to the amniotic fluid
  • As the amount of amniotic fluid is dependent on the functioning of the baby’s kidney and on the gut of the baby, any abnormalities in the kidneys or gut can cause lesser amount of amniotic fluid production.
  • Doctors thus suspect from the amount of amniotic fluid present whether the baby has a problem with its kidney’s or gut and they may do additional tests to diagnose it.
  • Amniotic fluid contains antibodies and thus protects the baby from infections.
  • Amniotic fluid insulates the baby keeping it warm and helps in maintaining a regular temperature.

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We have put together weekly developments during pregnancy. These articles are only for information. Every pregnancy is different and every woman's experience may be different. We also have articles relating to women's health, infertility and plan to add information about newborn care. Through the blogs, videos and our online consultation services, we are trying to empower mothers (as well as soon-to-be-moms) with health information which is easily understandable. Our mission is to help mothers have a happy pregnancy and a very happy postpartum experience. 

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Pregnancy brings a new meaning to the concept of beauty to a woman. It is a period of immense joy, excitement and anxiety. The feeling of carrying a little soul within you is beautiful.

Last modified on Monday, 06 August 2018 10:06
Dr Padma

Dr Padma is a Family care physician and is the Founder and CEO of MedHealthTV.


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