Getting to know the amniotic fluid and its problems
Amniotic fluid is a protective fluid for the fetus that is in the uterus and amniotic sac during pregnancy. In addition to allowing the fetus to move freely in the uterus before birth, amniotic fluid also functions to support the development of fetal organs, and to maintain a stable temperature in the uterus so that the fetus feels comfortable. This fluid also contains various important elements for fetal development, such as nutrients, hormones, and antibodies.
Amniotic fluid is not ordinary water, but has many functions. Following are the functions of amniotic fluid during pregnancy:
- Protects the fetus and keeps it safe from external pressure by resisting blows or sudden movements.
- Controls and keeps the temperature normal and stable to keep the baby warm.
- Helps the development of the baby's lungs because the baby breathes in the womb through this amniotic fluid.
- Helps the development of the baby's digestive system because babies swallow fluids while in the womb.
- Plays a role in the development of the baby's muscles and bones because this fluid creates an environment for the baby to float freely, move, and build muscles and bones properly.
- As a fetal lubricant by preventing fetal body parts (fingers and toes) from sticking together.
- Keep the umbilical cord from being compressed, such as the fetus being wrapped in the umbilical cord. This ensures that the fetus gets adequate food and oxygen from the placenta.
- Prevent infection because this fluid contains antibodies that can fight infection.
In some cases, pregnant women can have abnormal amniotic fluid conditions. If this happens, the doctor will monitor Sahabat Hermina's pregnancy more carefully.
The following are disorders that affect the amniotic fluid:
Pregnant women may have less amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios). When amniotic fluid leaks, the uterus is smaller for gestational age and does not feel much movement of the baby. Pregnant women are more likely to develop oligohydramnios if:
- The membranes of the amniotic sac shed, rupture, or leak before birth
- Placenta problems
- Hypertension during pregnancy
- Fetal abnormalities, such as birth defects (especially of kidney and urinary tract abnormalities)
- Twin pregnancy
Containing twins allows pregnant women to experience oligohydramnios because one fetus may experience excess fluid, while the other may experience fluid deficiency.
If you have more amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios), one of the signs is that your uterus is expanding faster than it should, making it look bigger. Pregnant women may experience abdominal discomfort, back pain, shortness of breath, uterine contractions, and swelling of the feet and wrists.
Polyhydramnios is more likely to occur if you have:
- Gestational diabetes
- Twin pregnancy
- Fetal genetic disorders
- Other causes such as infection due to Rubella, Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Toxoplasmosis, and Syphilis
- Fetal abnormalities
Fetal abnormalities make it difficult for the fetus to swallow fluids but the kidneys continue to produce fluids. For example, pyloric stenosis, cleft lip or cleft palate, abnormalities of the fetal digestive system, and birth defects.
3. Premature rupture of membranes
Premature rupture of membranes (PROM) is a condition when the amniotic sac ruptures before labor begins. This condition can occur either before the fetus matures in the womb (before the 37th week of gestation), or after the fetus matures. Here are some causes of premature rupture of membranes:
- Cervical, vaginal or uterine infection, is a common trigger of premature rupture of membranes.
- Trauma due to falls, motor vehicle accidents and so on.
- The amniotic sac and uterus are too stretched, because the number of fetuses in the womb is more than one or because the volume of amniotic fluid is too much.
- Have experienced premature rupture of amniotic fluid during a previous pregnancy.
- Uncontrollable high blood pressure.
- Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
- Smoking or stress during pregnancy.
Friends of Hermina, don't forget to have regular check-ups with an obstetrician. With regular control, the mother can know the growth and development of the fetus from an early age and avoid complications during pregnancy. If you experience complaints about pregnancy, you can do an examination at the Hermina Pandanaran Hospital.