There are probably several things you need to get done on a daily basis. You might have to head to your office, take a bus ride, go grocery shopping, or set up your nursery. While you might be used to a busy schedule, you’ve got another thing to worry about while rushing around: your baby.
Every step, bend, waddle, and shimmy you take can feel like a perceived hazard. And while you’ll want to avoid heavy lifting and extreme sports, you’ve got something on your side — something that’s there all the time to protect your little one from life’s demands. Meet the amniotic sac!
What is the amniotic sac, exactly?
The amniotic sac is filled with the famous “water.” You know, the thing that breaks in movies (and sometimes in real life) before labor begins (though the membranes most often rupture right at the beginning or during labor). In any case, the amniotic sac does a lot more than tell you when your baby is about to arrive.
This fluid-filled bag protects the fetus from the outside world, helping to regulate its temperature and safeguarding it from injury. The amniotic sac is filled with amniotic fluid and has two thin layers (or membranes). The inner layer surrounds your growing baby, and the outer membrane wraps around once more, providing an extra layer of protection. In short, your little one lives in a tough, protective bubble inside your womb.
What to know about amniotic fluid
Just days after conception, the amniotic sac starts to form. Maybe even before you know it, your baby’s new home will take shape and begin filling up with a clear or potentially yellowish liquid (AKA amniotic fluid). This protective substance is pretty impressive, providing a number of essential functions through all three trimesters.
Umbilical cord support: The all-star umbilical cord is responsible for delivering oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your baby. But the unsung hero of the story is amniotic fluid. Though it takes on a supporting role, the liquid ensures the umbilical cord can do its job by preventing it from getting squeezed or compressed when your baby moves around.
Temperature control: Have you ever stayed in the bath so long the water got cold? It’s not the most pleasant experience. Fortunately, your baby won’t have to deal with this issue, thanks to amniotic fluid. The liquid prevents heat loss, ensuring your little one stays nice and warm while inside the womb.
Room to move: Amniotic fluid also helps your baby develop muscles and bones by providing room to move around. This might help you see all those kicks in a new light.
Infection protection: Amniotic fluid contains essential nutrients and antibodies, which can help both you and your baby fight off infections.
Lung development: Last but not least, the amniotic sac helps your baby practice breathing and swallowing. They actually breathe in the fluid, which helps their lungs develop and grow strong.
When you’re going about daily life, it’s good to be aware of your surroundings to avoid bumps and falls. That said, you might have a little more peace of mind knowing the amniotic sac is always in your corner.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Water breaking: Understand this sign of labor.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic. July 16, 2019. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/water-breaking/art-20044142.
- “Anatomy: Fetus in Utero.” Johns Hopkins Health. Johns Hopkins University. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/anatomy-fetus-in-utero.
- “Amniotic Fluid.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes. September 2020. https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/amniotic-fluid.aspx.
- “Amniotic fluid.” MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services NIH (National Institutes of Health). February 26, 2021. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002220.htm.