Amniotic fluid is the liquid that is within the amnion or the membrane that holds the baby. Also known as waters. So when you hear the term her water broke, that is amniotic fluids. It serves as a cushioning to protect baby from external movements for shock absorbtion. This fluid also does a lot more. It also a source of nutrients, water, and biochemicals from mom to baby. As the baby grows, the fluid allows free movement allowing baby to do those acrobatic acts they like to do in utero. This helps their muscles and bones to develop. Also, when baby swallows this assists in the baby’s gastrointestinal development. It also helps keep baby’s body temperature just right.
What’s it made of?
It’s made mostly of water and electrolytes early in pregnancy. Later on it also contains, proteins, carbs, lipids, phospholipids, and urea. These “ingredients” help your baby in its development. So your body is making baby Gatorade of sorts. Plus it that’s where the baby’s urine comes from along with meconium (black sticky first poo after birth). Yes there is pee in there. It’s totally fine. How much is in there? Well, it increases with the growth of baby. It peaks at about 800 ml and decreases to 400 ml by week 42.
Where does it all come from?
It comes from moms plasma and later in the pregnancy baby contributes by urinating. This is why staying hydrated is key in pregnancy. You should drink at least 8 cups a day. You have an increase blood volume and are producing amniotic fluid. By the time of the birth you will have about 1 liter of water gushing out. Little known fact, the majority of births don’t see the waters break until baby is actually emerging. It is not as common to have a giant gush of waters and then baby. It happens, just not as often as people (the media) thinks it does.
Did you know that amniotic fluid can tell us a story. It is used to test for diseases and genetic anomalies. The amount excess or shortage can signal problems with baby or signal maternal issues. In labor, the color will signal whether baby has had a bowel movement which may or may not signal fetal distress.
To Break or Not to Break
Breaking of the water as mentioned before can be spontaneous in active labor or at the birth of baby. Sometimes a labor has gone on for a while with no “progress” and the provider may suggest rupturing your membranes. They may use a amnihook or amnicot. The amniohook kind of looks like a crochet hook. It is inserted and used to break the waters. The finger cot is the same except its a little finger cot with a bit of a hook on it. It does not hurt and mom may feel relief at the breaking of the waters. Some providers feel that this potentially will speed up progress. There is no real proof it actually does. It can potentially make it harder to cope with the labor pains since now instead of a cushion of water on the cervix, the baby’s head is not directly on the cervix, leading to the need for pain medication. It can be helpful if labor has been long and the provider wants to make sure there is no meconium is in the fluids. All in all though, it seems like it’s best to leave things alone if possible.
So that is it. That is a brief run down on amniotic fluids. Have a fun fact you’d like to share please comment. Did your water break before the baby came, leak during labor, or gush right at baby’s arrival?
Try out this cool dream of an add-on for the hot months ahead. If this week is anything to go by, we are in for some hot days. Enjoy this fresh aloe vera and cucumber mask for the back to help you have a cool experience. Cold marble massage stones deepen the cooling experience. Perfect to soothe a sun-kissed back. If you are experiencing hot-flashes from menopause this is a nice break. Enjoy a green tea and fruit infused water to take with you on the go. Schedule your 60/90/120 minute massage session and add-on this treatment to give yourself a cool treat!
Once you hit your second trimester, perhaps some of the early symptoms of pregnancy have abated. You’ve got more energy. You are eating well. Feeling good. In your second trimester, some will get a sharp pain in on the sides.
What is happening ?
So there is this hormone called relaxin and this lets connective tissues relax. Sudden movements or stretching with normal movement can cause this sharp pain on your side or even both sides. The uterus is growing and is heavy and big enough to stretch the ligaments, but not quite big enough to sit on the pelvis bones to give some relief.
What’s a pregnant person to do?
First, be aware of your movements. Use those abdominal muscles to help support your movements and not put those ligaments under strain. Try to avoid sudden movement and changes of position. If you work in an office setting, be careful about going from sitting to standing suddenly. At bedtime, you are probably are all ready doing this, but laying on your side at bed time can help the round ligaments get some relief from all their hard work. You can do leg lifts. Start with the side that is in pain. Holding on to a chair or table, you use your abdominal muscles to lift the leg up a couple inches off the floor and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times. Now do the same rep on the opposite leg.
This too shall pass!
You can expect some relief once you hit the third trimester usually. Pregnancy massage to the abdomen and myofascial abdominal stretches with a pregnancy massage specialist can really help as well. Did you or are you experiencing round ligament pain? What tricks or tips do you have for other moms?
BOOK AN APPOINMENT
You look in the mirror and see a new person. Welcome mother. Welcome to motherhood. Do you recognize her? Can you believe how much a little person has changed life? What now?
Enjoy the ever changing and evolving life of motherhood. It can feel like standing at a precipice. Whether you have waited a long time to get here or happened upon this path of mothering, you may feel overwhelm at the responsibility and uncertainty before you. Who am I now? How can I remain me and embrace this new sense of self?
Massage is a beautiful way to increase self awareness. As your body is massaged, you become aware of how each part of the body feels. Done regularly, massage can help you get to know your body well. This is so important because our body talks to us. It tells us the real story of what is going on in our lives. Tension in the shoulders, is it anxiety, am I slouching because of feeling sadness, am I aware of my posture when nursing my baby? Making a plan for massage as a part of your life is worth it. It has been found in research to decrease anxiety and depression in new mothers. Done regularly during the immediate postpartum phase and into that first year of postpartum can make a world of difference to a mother. It is not just six weeks to recovery. Postpartum affects our bodies and minds for years to come. Physically, the body is jumbled up so to speak from our growing baby being inside and postpartum abdominal massage can help to reorganize things. You have just run a marathon of birth and need to address areas of tension that have built up during labor. You carried a growing baby for 9 months and you will have postural changes. If you have had a Cesarean birth, this still applies to you momma. You will have scar tissue to be addressed and you need no less self-care than a woman who gave vaginal birth. With a plan of massage mother to baby interaction is more positive and helps baby grow well, have better social interactions, and just generally happier. Self-massage routine can be taught to mom so that in between her massage appointments she can still reap benefits. Plus she will know her body well, having a better awareness, and positive body view.
Committing to Yourself
Planning for postpartum massage should be a necessity for new moms. It is a normal part of cultures worldwide. Mothers are given massage daily in some cultures as well as baby. It is not stressed enough to take care of mother in our culture. This conversation needs to be heard more. That is my goal. The better cared for the mother is the better cared for the baby. We really all benefit when mom’s are cared for. Make it your commitment to be well, be cared for and thrive in your 4th trimester. Mom’s make the world go round!
Book an Appointment
Deidre’s massage studio is at Buffalo Midwifery Services 289 Summer St. Buffalo, NY 14222 (716)292-6113.