Thanks to the amniotic fluid (also called amniotic fluid), the future baby is warm, quiet and calm. The temperature of the waters is 37 ° C, they absorb shock well and drown out external noise.
Since the fetal bladder is sealed, microbes from the external genital organs do not enter it. In addition, in the amniotic fluid there are immunoglobulins, well protecting the little man from possible troubles.
In addition, in the amniotic fluid baby can swim plenty, and it trains muscles well.
Amniotic fluid is formed by the sweating of blood plasma from the mother’s blood vessels and the urine excreted by the baby. In late pregnancy, the kidneys and lungs of a child begin to take part in the production of amniotic fluid.
By the end of the term its amount reaches 1-1.5 liters, and every three hours it is completely updated.
Almost 97% of the amniotic fluid consists of water, in which a variety of nutrients are dissolved: proteins, mineral salts (calcium, sodium, chlorine). In addition, it can detect skin cells, hair and aromatic substances – alkaloids.
It is believed that the smell of amniotic fluid is similar to the flavor of mother’s milk, which allows the newborn infant to accurately determine where the mother’s breast is.
Thanks to the amniotic fluid, even before the birth of the baby, the future baby gets acquainted with many aromatic substances. That is why in the West, in some maternity homes, newborns are not even washed hands, so that they can suck their fingers, “flavored” by the amniotic fluid, to the smell that they are so used to.
Thanks to the amniotic fluid, many vital functions begin to work in a child. As the baby swallows the liquid and processes it, the work of its kidneys is started (in the child’s bladder, the amniotic fluid is found already at the 9th week of pregnancy). Later, he begins to “inhale” the fluid, doing the first and very important exercise for the lungs.
During childbirth, the lungs shrink, the remnants of amniotic fluid come out of them, and right after this, the baby takes its first breath.
Due to the fact that the child is always in the amniotic fluid, a white greasy deposit appears on his skin, the so-called original lubricant. During childbirth, after a rupture of the membranes of the membranes, the liquid enters the birth canal and washes them, which helps the baby move forward.
If the baby is lying head down, then at the beginning of labor only those waters that are ahead are poured out, while the rest protect him further, and come out with the birth of the child.
Everything related to the condition of the amniotic fluid is very important for the health of the unborn baby. If they become too few or too many, it can affect its development.
The volume of fluid depends on the characteristics of the body of the future mother. Usually, this indicator varies between 1 and 1.5 liters, and with the approach of birth decreases and to the 37-38 week reaches 800 ml.
If the amniotic fluid is too small, it may indicate that the mother has gestosis, hypertension, chronic inflammatory diseases, and the future baby may have congenital kidney disease. As for polyhydramnios, it is associated with genetic diseases, Rh-conflict, inflammation of the fetal membranes, and sometimes occurs in women who are waiting for twins.
An obstetrician-gynecologist can get an idea of the amount of amniotic fluid during the examination of the future mother, feeling her stomach, and ultrasound gives more accurate information about this.
This is a study of the color and amount of amniotic fluid with a special amnioscope device. The greenish hue of the liquid indicates a chronic lack of oxygen in the child (hypoxia), and yellow indicates that the condition of the baby has passed a critical point and he needs to be born immediately.
The need for amnioscopy occurs at the end of pregnancy, if doctors need to find out how the baby feels, for example, when his waiting is delayed or his mother has illnesses (preeclampsia and others) that can seriously affect his health.
Every fifth woman has leakage of amniotic fluid before the rupture of the fetal bladder. When the amniotic fluid begins to leak, it seems to moms that they did not have time to reach the toilet (in order not to be mistaken with the conclusions, strain the muscles: you can stop the flow of urine with this effort, but the amniotic fluid does not).
Since due to the leakage of amniotic fluid, an infection can penetrate to the child, it is imperative that you inform your doctor. He will take a smear from the cervix on the elements of the amniotic fluid, and then decide what to do next.
If this situation occurs for up to 34 weeks and the child has not matured lungs, doctors will prolong the pregnancy and accelerate the maturation of the lungs with the help of drugs. If the leakage of amniotic fluid is accompanied by an infection: the temperature rises, there is a lot of white blood cells in the blood test and vaginal smear, and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) is accelerated – the woman will be prepared for childbirth.
A special study, amniocentesis, helps doctors thoroughly examine the composition of the amniotic fluid. During this procedure, the amniotic fluid is taken for analysis with a thin needle through a microscopic puncture in the abdomen.
The study is conducted after 14 weeks of pregnancy to study the chromosomal set of the child (thus, for example, Down’s disease can be detected) and to identify some other problems: for example, the severity of Rh-conflict or developmental disorders of the nervous system, kidneys, lungs. Often, an amniocentesis is prescribed if the result of an ultrasound and blood tests (prenatal biochemical screening) inspires fear in doctors.
It is also recommended for expectant mothers of mature age, because the risk of the appearance of Down’s disease increases every year, and after 35 years – especially quickly.
Amniocentesis is carried out under ultrasound control, which means that the child is not in danger. Nevertheless, the risk, although very small, still remains: 0.5−1% of operations can trigger an abortion.
That is why amniocentesis is not performed in case of problems with the course of pregnancy (for example, the threat of termination) or chronic inflammation.