Feeds

What is amniotic fluid?

It used to be all around us, man

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Also in this week's column:

What is amniotic fluid?

Asked by Giulia Rossi, age 13, of Rome, Italy

As any baby could tell you (if they could talk), amniotic fluid is the clear, yellowish liquid that surrounds the unborn baby. It is contained in the amniotic sac. The fluid consists mostly of fetal urine that bathes the developing fetus. The fetus floats in this fluid, which is warmed to the mother’s body temperature.

The amniotic fluid increases in volume as the fetus grows. The amount of amniotic fluid is greatest at about 34 weeks after conception or 34 weeks ga (gestational age). At 34 weeks ga, the amount of amniotic fluid is about 800 ml. This amount reduces to about 600 ml at 40 weeks ga when the baby is born.

Amniotic fluid is continually being swallowed and "inhaled" and replaced through being "exhaled", as well as being urinated by the baby. Not terribly tasteful to us in more ways than one. But the developing baby doesn't mind at all. It is essential that the amniotic fluid be breathed into the lungs by the fetus in order for the lungs to develop normally.

Analysis of amniotic fluid, drawn out of the mother's abdomen in an amniocentesis procedure, can reveal many aspects of the baby's genetic health. This is because the fluid also contains fetal cells which can be examined for genetic defects.

Amniotic fluid also protects the developing baby by cushioning against blows to the mother's abdomen, allows for easier fetal movement, promotes muscular/skeletal development, and helps protect the fetus from heat loss.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?