I’ve Drunk My Own Wee for Months, So Have You!
Sounds a bit ikky, right? Well… All of us have spent months drinking our own wee! It happened when we were in utero, drinking amniotic fluid and it’s an important part of learning and practicing before our emergence into the big, scary world we all now inhibit. In fact, amniotic fluid is mostly sterile urine!
Amniotic fluid is initially about 98% water and 2% salts and cells from the baby. At around 8 weeks old babies will start adding their own contribution to the mix, in the form of urine! A short time after that the baby will start swallowing the amniotic fluid as well.
The whole process is actually really important. Practicing the swallowing reflex helps develop the muscles and prepare the little person for feeding, it’s also great practice for the digestive and urinary systems too. The amniotic fluid is swallowed, passed through the digestive system and onto the urinary systems, then the cycle repeats.
That’s not the only thing amniotic fluid is good for:
- It acts as a shock absorber, distributing any forces that may push on the mother’s uterus
- It is often “breathed” for periods to help develop the lungs and exercise the respiratory systems
- It keeps the baby warm and the temperature stable
- It stops body parts from growing together, acting as a lubricant. In some cases low amniotic fluid can cause webbed fingers or toes!
- It’s great for allowing the baby to move easily, exercising muscles and strengthening bones
- It stops the umbilical cord from being squeezed too hard. Too much could cut off the nutritional supply from mum to baby
The amniotic fluid also carries mucus, bile, fine hairs called lanugo and cells lining the inside of the womb. These get ingested and form the viscous, sticky first faeces called meconium.