The most important fluid a pregnant woman needs to know is a fluid that functions a little like the air sac for your growing baby: the amniotic fluid. As a product of fetal metabolism, amniotic fluid serves several purposes: it assists the exchange of substances between mother and baby, as a physical barrier that protects the fetus (a kind of cushion against trauma, such as accidents, etc.), and also as part of a baby’s immune system. because amniotic fluid contains immune chemicals that fight various types of viruses and bacteria. Another interesting fact: the fluid coats both sides of the tympanic membrane in the baby’s ear, allowing sound to pass from the outer ear to the inner ear.
Babies also need amniotic fluid for lung development. The lungs of a newborn baby are like wrinkled plastic wrap. When a fetus, sucks the amniotic fluid, it stimulates the production of lung tissues to develop. However, too much insulin in the child, as in the case of diabetes during pregnancy, blocks the production of surfactants, can slow lung development and put stress on the newborn.
Amniotic fluid is also a great diagnostic tool because it gives us cues about developments that are taking place in the uterus. In addition to being immersed in the amniotic fluid, which helps train the fetus to balance itself in space, like a gymnast, the fetus is also constantly sucking and exhaling the fluid, approximately 340 ml per day, or less than 500 ml. The fetus regurgitates about half of that amount and the rest is excreted in the form of urine. The amniotic fluid is completely renewed every three days, so it’s not the same fluid throughout pregnancy.
There are several reasons the amount of amniotic fluid varies, and doctors estimate the volume to identify potential problems. For example, if the doctor detects too much fluid during an ultrasound examination, the baby may have problems with the swallowing and digestive systems. Too little fluid can mean the fetal kidneys are not working properly.
Also Read: Hydramnios (Excess Amniotic Water)