John Hopkins Medicine states that the amniotic sac, the fluid-filled sac that holds the fetus in the uterus, functions to protect the unborn baby and help regulate the baby's temperature. The amniotic fluid inside the sac cushions the fetus and protects the fetus from damage. The amniotic sac also hold the amnion, a membrane that separates the placenta from the amniotic fluid.Continue Reading
Vanderbilt University Medical Center explains that in addition to protecting the fetus from physical dangers, the amniotic sac keeps outside contaminants, such as germs, from reaching the fetus. If the amniotic sac breaks before the fetus is ready to be born, complications are likely to develop. The fetus becomes vulnerable to infection from germs. The umbilical cord, which supplies the fetus with oxygen and nutrients, may become compressed without the cushioning of the amniotic fluid. The placenta may separate from the uterine wall if the amnion is damaged, which can causing internal bleeding. Premature birth is likely.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center lists the primary symptom of a leaking amniotic sac, also known as premature rupture of the membranes, to be a leaking or gushing water-like discharge from the vagina. The fluid sometimes has a yellow tinge. Other possible symptoms include vaginal bleeding and pain in the lower abdomen or lower back.Learn more about Pregnancy
At 12 weeks pregnant, a mother's uterus has grown to the height of her belly button, making the pregnancy noticeable for the first time, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The skin of the belly also continues to grow and may even begin to feel itchy at times.Full Answer >
Medline Plus states that amniotic fluid allows the fetus to move, helps the lungs develop, provides a heat buffer that keeps the fetus at a constant temperature and cushions the fetus. Additional functions reported by PregMed are aiding digestive system development, keeping the umbilical protected and preventing the amniotic sac from coming in contact with the fetus.Full Answer >
During pregnancy, if a mother is infected with cytomegalovirus, the virus in her blood crosses over the placenta and infects her fetus' blood. It is most common for a pregnant mother to receive exposure to cytomeglovirus, or CMV, through sexual contact or via exposure to the urine or saliva of infected children, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Full Answer >
An ultrasound cannot diagnose whether a fetus has Down syndrome, but it can find characteristics called soft markers that may indicate the possibility of Down syndrome, reports About.com. Doctors must perform other prenatal diagnostic tests to verify that the fetus has the chromosome abnormalities associated with Down syndrome.Full Answer >