Amniotic Fluid

Amniotic fluid is the watery liquid surrounding and cushioning a growing fetus within the Amnion.The amnion is a membranous sac which surrounds and protects the embryo. Amniotic fluid accomplishes numerous functions for the fetus, including:

  • Protection from outside injury by cushioning sudden blows or movements
  • Allowing for freedom of fetal movement and permitting symmetrical musculoskeletal development
  • Maintaining a relatively constant temperature for the environment surrounding the fetus, thus protecting the fetus from heat loss
  • Permitting proper lung development

Amniotic fluid volume is greatest at approximately 34 weeks of gestation, when it averages 800 ml. Approximately 600 ml of amniotic fluid surrounds the baby at full term (40 weeks gestation). This fluid is constantly circulated by the baby swallowing and “inhaling” existing fluid and replacing it through “exhalation” and urination.

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