This fluid is
To the health of your baby
Either hers or his
It protects and provides
Surrounds and flows
As your little baby
Develops and grows.
The amniotic sac that your baby calls “home” is amazing and essential to the proper development of your baby. Where does it come from? How is it made? Why is it so important?
The amniotic sac or “water bag” is formed about 12 days after conception. Until about 20 weeks, the fluid is mostly water made by your body. Amniotic fluid has nutrients, hormones and antibodies that all serve to help your baby grow and be healthy. After about 20 weeks, when the baby’s kidneys start working, most of the amniotic fluid is made up of the baby’s urine. Your baby swallows the fluid, digests it, passes it through the kidneys, and then urinates back into the sac. This critical cycle allows for practice of the digestive and urologic systems.
By 34 weeks gestation, the amniotic fluid averages about 800ml or approximately 3 ½ cups, and by 40 weeks 600ml or approximately 2 ½ cups. The fluid doesn’t go anywhere; just less is made.
The amniotic fluid has many purposes:
- Allows the baby to exercise muscles and strengthen bones
- Helps the lungs and digestive system develop
- Provides a cushion or shock absorber
- Maintains a steady temperature around the baby
- Keeps the umbilical cord free-flowing to avoid compression
- Indicates how sufficiently the placenta is working
Normal values for amniotic fluid are 5-25, although depending on your gestation and the level of fluid, your health care provider may recommend testing to monitor your fluid more closely. Below 5 or too little amniotic fluid is called, oligohydramnios. Above 25 or too much amniotic fluid is called, polyhydramnios.
Staying well hydrated, eating nutritious foods, taking high quality prenatal vitamins, and getting proper rest are the only things you can do to ensure adequate amniotic fluid.
And so we say
An apple a day
But don’t forget the water
A cup an hour
Is fluid power
For your developing
Son or daughter