What is amniotic fluid?
In the beautiful journey of pregnancy, when you are carrying your baby in the womb, she/he rests inside an amniotic sac filled with amniotic fluid.
Amniotic fluid during pregnancy has many important functions and is crucial for healthy fetal development.
Amniotic fluid is a clear, yellow fluid that surrounds the growing baby in the uterus, and is responsible for various tasks in this time.
You must be wondering about how does amniotic fluid keep your baby healthy?
It prevents the fetus from injuries and protects your baby from infections, as it contains antibodies while giving him/her room to move around and grow.
The amniotic fluid consists of necessary components such as nutrients, hormones, and infection-fighting antibodies that protect your baby in the uterus.
However, if the amount of amniotic fluid inside the uterus is too much or too less, complications in pregnancy can occur.
Generally, the level of amniotic fluid is at its highest when it is around 36 weeks of pregnancy. This level decreases as the delivery date comes near.
Amniotic fluid levels differ from person to person. The amount of amniotic fluid inside your uterus should be monitored as it may result in abnormal fetal development or lead to complications.
Too much amniotic fluid causes Polyhydramnios, whereas too little amniotic fluid causes Oligohydramnios. Symptoms and signs of these vary from person to person.
The reasons behind Polyhydramnios are not clearly identified, but have a look at some known causes:
- Maternal diabetes is one of the major causes of Polyhydramnios.
- A possibility of twins is the other one. In this case, there is a complication in pregnancy wherein one twin receives too much blood and other is left with too little.
- Shortage of red blood cells in the baby.
- A possibility of infection during pregnancy leads to Polyhydramnios.
Common Polyhydramnios symptoms are :
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swelling in the lower extremities
- Swelling of the vulva
- Decrease in urine
- Tightness in the belly
Common Oligohydramnios symptoms are
- Extra Leakage of the amniotic fluid.
- Less maternal weight gain.
- Abdominal discomfort.
- A sudden drop in heart rate.
- Rupture of membranes before labour.
Here are some tips that will help you increase the amount of amniotic fluid during pregnancy:
1. Drinking an ample amount of water
This is one of the easiest ways to increase amniotic fluid. Increasing the level of water in your body also increases the level of amniotic fluid. Keeping your body hydrated is most important in all stages of pregnancy.
High water-content foods like cucumber, strawberries, watermelon and tomatoes should be added in the diet on your platter.
2. A big no to alcohol
Stop drinking alcohol. Alcohol is not considered good while you are pregnant, as it’s not good for your baby’s health. Alcohol dehydrates while lowering the level of amniotic fluid in your body. It is one of the things that you strictly avoid during pregnancy.
3. Regular workouts
Pregnancy exercises are considered the best to stay stress-free, active and for maintaining a better circulation of blood. Regular workouts during pregnancy help in circulating the blood to various parts of the body. The increase in blood flow in the uterus also increases the level of amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Here are a few tips that will help you decrease the amount of amniotic fluid during pregnancy:
1. Treating your disease right
Sometimes, any diseases you have can lead to an increase in the amount of amniotic fluid. Treating your disease right with proper consultation of doctors helps in lowering the level of amniotic fluid.
2. Reduction of amniocentesis
Amniocentesis drains out the excess amniotic fluid from your body. In this process, doctors draw fluid from the womb with proper techniques and procedures.
3. Proper medication
If the amniotic fluid leakage is in excess then the doctor may put you on Indomethacin medication. It helps in reducing amniotic fluid levels. Doctors generally put you on indomethacin 31 weeks before delivery.
An excessive amount of amniotic fluid or too less amniotic fluid can be dangerous for you and your baby. Too much amniotic fluid in the womb causes polyhydramnios whereas too little amniotic fluid in the womb causes oligohydramnios.
Women with a lower or higher than average level of amniotic fluid during pregnancy may experience complications for their fetus and other problems during delivery.
Proper care is required in both cases. An optimal level of amniotic fluid is requisite for the well-being of both the mother and child. Make sure to get your amniotic fluid level checked for a safe pregnancy.