Why your amniotic fluid is important

Find out why amniotic fluid is so crucial to your growing foetus’ development, and learn what you can do if this water level is low…

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The highlight of your first ultrasound scan will undoubtedly be a glimpse of that little life within you.

Your gynaecologist will point out to you where the amniotic sac is, and you’ll be able to see your developing baby inside that sac, surrounded by amniotic fluid. This is made up of water, together with nutrients, hormones, as well as antibodies to fight off infection.

The fluid comes from various sources, including foetal urine, foetal skin, foetal lung fluid, plus membranes and the placenta that is surrounding your baby. After 20 weeks, amniotic fluid is mostly made of your baby’s pee.

By the time your baby is full term, the total volume of fluid would be around 2.8 litres.

Why amniotic fluid is important

Amniotic fluid is essential in protecting bubba during pregnancy. It acts as a cushion. protecting your baby from any injury or impact that may occur―such as if you should slip and fall, or if another person crashes into your belly.

It keeps bubba warm and allows him to move freely while preventing the umbilical cord from getting compressed. Amniotic fluid also allows muscles and bones to grow healthily.

When your baby swallows this fluid, it also helps to develop his digestive system.

As your pregnancy progresses, the fluid even helps your baby to practise breathing, and aids in the development of his lungs and respiratory system. When your baby swallows this fluid, it also helps to develop his digestive system.

SmartParents expert and consultant ob-gyn, Dr Christopher Chong explains that your doctor will usually monitor your amniotic fluid levels via ultrasound scans. “The four quadrants of the womb are measured for water pockets ― this is added up to form the amniotic fluid index, or AFI. If the levels are more than 8cm, they are normal. 5 to 8cm means it is borderline, and below 5cm, it is low. Decreased foetal movements, usually seen in ultrasound scans, A sign of low fluid levels would be he notes.