Amniotic fluid

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Philippe Gloaguen
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In this article

  • What is amniotic fluid?
  • Composition and amniotic sac
  • Amount and abnormalities of amniotic fluid

What is amniotic fluid

Il amniotic fluid is the substance surrounding the fetus within the amniotic sac (or amniotic cavity) throughout pregnancy. Its function is that of protect the fetus from bumps and infections, keep it right temperature e favor its proper development lungs, gastrointestinal tract and musculoskeletal system without distorting or altering their anatomical structure.





Thanks to the amniotic fluid then the fetus receives a small part of nourishment, which allows the unborn child to have a first contact with the flavors of food, since the aromatic molecules of the food ingested by the mother pass through this substance.

Read also: the dictionary of pregnancy

Composition and amniotic sac

Amniotic fluid is produced within the amniotic sac, which is in turn bounded by a membrane called amnion which develops in the weeks immediately following conception.



During the first days it is the same cells of the amnion a to produce amniotic fluid, but during gestation the task passes to other parts of the body: in the first trimester of pregnancy the accumulation of fluid occurs through the cute fetal, which exudes the maternal-fetal plasma, while in the second and third trimester - when the fetus is already beginning to be formed - the production is entrusted to the Reindeer, which also provide for the disposal of waste through urine and to a lesser extent a lungs and umbilical cord.

The volume of amniotic fluid reaches its maximum around the 28th week, and then gradually decrease. It mainly consists of water, mineral salts and other elements that contribute to the nourishment of the unborn child.

Amount and abnormalities of amniotic fluid

The production of amniotic fluid can encounter complications, mainly linked to the type of quantity of substance present in the amniotic sac.



To measure the level of amniotic fluid, the pocket of fluid that collects in each of the four quadrants into which the uterus divides is evaluated vertically and the sum is made in cm using a scale called AFI (amniotic fluid index). The quantity at the end of the celebration is between 8 to 20 cm, with an optimal average of about 10-12 cm.

The cases in which an abnormal amount of amniotic fluid is found are:

Polidramnios: indicates an excess of amniotic fluid (greater than 20-24 cm). It can be caused by congenital abnormalities of the fetus that prevent the absorption of fluid, a multiple pregnancy, or cases of gestational diabetes.

Oligodramnios: indicates a lack of amniotic fluid (less than 5 cm). It can be caused by congenital anomalies of the fetus, by malformations of the placenta, by the prolongation of the pregnancy beyond the canonical nine months or by the rupture of the amniotic sac membrane.

FONTI: National Center of Biotechnology Information

Questions and answers

How is amniotic fluid increased?

The best thing to ensure the right level of amniotic fluid is to keep the body well hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

What is the right amount of amniotic fluid?

The quantity at the end of gestation varies from 8 to 20 cm, with an optimal average of about 10-12 cm.

How is amniotic fluid produced?

During the very early stages, the liquid is produced from maternal blood which is exuded from the fetus through the skin. Then in the following months the task passes to the kidneys, lungs and umbilical cord.

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  • amniotic fluid in pregnancy
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