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Amniocentesis
Amniocentesis


Amniotic fluid
Amniotic fluid


Polyhydramnios
Polyhydramnios


Amniotic fluid
Amniotic fluid


Amniotic fluid

Definition:

Amniotic fluid is a clear, slightly yellowish liquid that surrounds the unborn baby (fetus) during pregnancy. It is contained in the amniotic sac.



Information:

While in the womb, the baby floats in the amniotic fluid. The amount of amniotic fluid is greatest at about 34 weeks (gestation ) into the pregnancy, when it averages 800 mL. About 600 mL of amniotic fluid surrounds the baby at full term (40 weeks gestation).

The amniotic fluid constantly moves (circulates) as the baby swallows and "inhales" the fluid, and then releases it.

The amniotic fluid helps:

  • The developing baby to move in the womb, which allows for proper bone growth
  • The lungs to develop properly
  • Keep a constant temperature around the baby, protecting from heat loss
  • Protect the baby from outside injury by cushioning sudden blows or movements

Too much amniotic fluid is called polyhydramnios . This condition can occur with multiple pregnancies (twins or triplets), congenital anomalies (problems that exist when the baby is born), or gestational diabetes .

Too little amniotic fluid is known as oligohydramnios. This condition may occur with late pregnancies, ruptured membranes, placental dysfunction , or fetal abnormalities.

Abnormal amounts of amniotic fluid may cause the health care provider to watch the pregnancy more carefully. Removing a sample of the fluid through amniocentesis can provide information about the sex, health, and development of the fetus.



References:

Cunningham FG, Leveno KJ, Bloom SL, et al. Embryogenesis and fetal morphological development. In: Cunningham FG, Leveno KL, Bloom SL, et al, eds. Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2040:chap 7.

Gilbert WM. Amniotic fluid disorders. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 33.

Ross MG, Ervin MG, Novak D. Placental and fetal physiology. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, at al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2012:chap 2.




Review Date: 12/2/2014
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
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Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901
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Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860
973-383-2121

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444
973-831-5000

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960
973-971-5000

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