Health During Pregnancy

The effects of dehydration on a fetus at 11 weeks pregnant

A Fetus at 11 Weeks

In the eleventh week of pregnancy, the foetus is more than 1.5 inches long and about the size of a fig. The foetus is already moving and kicking, and it is nearing the end of the first trimester.

Effects

Without adequate water supply, the foetus may not receive all necessary nutrients. Dehydration also limits the amount of amniotic fluid, which can cause the foetus to come into direct contact with the uterus wall. This leads to deformed limbs. Miscarriages are also possible but rare.

Symptoms

Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, dark urine, dizziness, weakness, thirst, and dry mouth or skin.

Treatment

To treat dehydration, a pregnant woman may be hooked up to an IV to restore fluids. If the dehydration is a result of extreme nausea and vomiting, an antinausea medication may be prescribed.

Prevention

To prevent dehydration in pregnancy, drink water regularly. During the first trimester when nausea is common, it is best to restore fluids after vomiting if possible.

Can a Baby Be Born in the Amniotic Sac?

Amniotic Sac

The amniotic sac, which is also sometimes called the caul or membranes, is filled with amniotic fluid. This fluid is very important for the health of your baby. It helps your baby's lungs develop, provides lubrication so that your baby can move around and works as a shock absorber. It even helps your baby develop his digestion system, because he swallows the fluid and then expels it through urination.

Rupture of the Membranes

Usually, the membranes rupture during or shortly before labor begins. Once ruptured, the fluid leaks out, which is what is happening when a woman's water breaks. This triggers contractions. In some cases, doctors will manually rupture the amniotic sac in an attempt to start or speed up labor. Because of this, births within an entirely intact sac are very rare.

Rare & Harmless

It is not dangerous for a baby to be born in the amniotic sac. In fact, one baby lived for over 25 minutes inside the amniotic sac after being born, according to an article in JAMA Pediatrics. It is most commonly seen in premature births because there is more fluid present in the sac. Full-term babies are usually quite crowded in the sac, and the membranes are stretched thin, making them much more inclined to break easily. Babies born in the amniotic sac account for one out of every 80,000 births, and the births usually happen by cesarean section.

Superstitions

Superstitions about "caul births" date back to medieval times. It was thought that a baby born with part of the membranes over his or her face would bring good luck to his family. Such babies were believed to be destined for great things. Babies born within an entirely intact caul were considered to be even more fortunate and lucky. Sometimes in these cases, the cauls were preserved. Such cauls were believed to be able to protect the owner from drowning.

How to Deal With Amniotic Fluid Problems During Pregnancy

Prepare yourself for a plethora of tests. Once you are found to have high or low levels of amniotic fluid, you will probably need to have non-stress tests, ultrasounds and biophysical profiles.

Perform fetal kick counts twice a day. In the morning and afternoon, sit or lie quietly and count any and all baby movement you feel. You should feel at least 10 movements within two hours, although it will likely take you less time to feel them.

Drink plenty of fluid. Fill your body with at least eight glasses of water per day. This will help to increase your amniotic fluid levels.

Obtain a prescription for medication that reduces amniotic fluid production. Before 32 weeks, your doctor may want to prescribe this medication if she suspects your high fluid level might be a problem.

Ask your doctor if you will need an amnioreduction for fluid levels that are too high. This is similar to an amniocentesis, where a needle is inserted into the uterus and fluid is removed.

Tip

Nearly 10 percent of pregnant women are diagnosed with low fluid levels at some point during pregnancy.

Warning

Low amniotic fluid could indicate a fetal defect or problems with the kidneys.