Amniotic Fluid: What It Means for You and Your Baby

Posted On: April 3, 2020 By CIW

Amniotic fluid plays a lot of important roles in the health of your baby during pregnancy, so it’s inevitable that you’ll hear your maternal fetal medicine specialist talk about it. Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby in the uterus and helps it develop with a lot of key functions. If things go wrong during your pregnancy, amniotic fluid can usually be an indicator, meaning it’s important to understand what to look for and what it means. Here’s what to know about amniotic fluid as you navigate your appointments with our expert team.

What does amniotic fluid do?

Your uterus is filled with amniotic fluid inside a sac during pregnancy. The fluid is produced in the fetal kidneys and lungs and is recirculated by being swallowed and reabsorbed.  The fluid serves a lot of important purposes, including cushioning and protecting your baby, helping your child grow by allowing them to breathe and digest the fluid, maintaining a steady temperature, allowing for movement to develop your child’s musculoskeletal system and lungs, and preventing damage to the umbilical cord. Amniotic fluid contains hormones, nutrients, and antibodies to fight off infections. In short, amniotic fluid gives your child everything they need to grow and prosper inside the womb.

What color should amniotic fluid be?

Amniotic fluid is normally clear or slightly tinted yellow. Color can usually be a designation that something is wrong, however. For example, if it appears green or brown, it can mean your baby has passed their first bowel movement inside the womb (which should ideally only happen after birth). In this case, this can be dangerous because the matter can enter the child’s lungs through amniotic fluid. This can cause breathing problems after birth, meaning your baby may need intervention right away.

Can there be too little or too much amniotic fluid?

Yes. Up until about 36 weeks gestation, the amount of amniotic fluid will increase where it makes up around 1 quart. After that, it begins to decrease in volume. When too little amniotic fluid is present, it’s called oligohydramnios. On the other hand, too much fluid is called polyhydramnios. Both can be cause for concern, but most babies with these conditions are born perfectly healthy.

Should I have amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that can take a sample of your amniotic fluid to test for certain health conditions. Your doctor or maternal fetal medicine specialist can help you determine it this is the right option for you.  This procedure is mainly used to determine if your baby may be born with any birth defects, genetic conditions, infection, or chromosomal abnormalities. There are some risks that come with amniocentesis, so your doctors can help you determine the best course of treatment for you.

Schedule a Consultation

It’s important to partner with an award-winning team of maternal fetal medicine specialists to ensure that your baby gets the care it needs. To schedule an appointment and learn more about your best options, we invite you to contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.

Carnegie Imaging for Women blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!

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