Job 38:8

Viewing the King James Version. Click to switch to 1611 King James Version of Job 38:8.

Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb?

The Amniotic Fluid acts as:
  • Cushioning protection of the ovum, zygote and fetus after conception.
  • Water and electrolytes for the fetus to begin developing.
  • Nourishment of the fetus beginning around 3 months.
  • Urea from the fetal urine and other chemicals in the amniotic fluid help the fetus lungs develop as they breathe the liquid in and out of their lungs.
  • It helps in regulation of the pressure outside the fetus in the womb that prevents the developing fluids in the lungs from flowing out.
  • It helps the formation of meconium in the digestive tract, the first stools in infants, as the fetus drinks the amniotic fluid.
  • The fluid helps keep and regulate the correct fetal body temperature.
  • It allows the fetus that floats in the fluid to move around better within the uterus which is necessary for bone and muscle development.

Amniotic fluid is a liquid produced inside the woman's womb during pregnancy, beginning as early as 2 weeks after conception, needed to surround the implanted ovum to provide comfort and protection from external injury. In the earliest stages, it is mainly functioning as a cushion to protect the ovum and later zygote and embryo. At first it is composed of mostly just water with some essential electrolytes (sodium, potassium and chloride).

By the 3rd month of pregnancy, it also provides more nutritional components - then containing proteins, carbohydrates and different types of lipids (fats) needed for nutrition and development. Its function then includes nourishment of the embryo and fetus, in addition to the protection from injury throughout the pregnancy.

It also contains urea by that time as the fetus drinks and urinates into the fluid. The fetus 'breathes" the amniotic fluid in and out of the lungs. The urea excreted by the urinary system of the fetus is in the fluid and is essential for lung development. At around 2 months the fetus begins swallowing the fluid and urine is produced, which is excreted by the fetus into the fluid. The urea in the urine is essential for the development of the surfactants in the lungs. Surfactants are one of the things missing in premature infants that can result in pulmonary problems even later in life as adults. Surfactant is a soapy substance that develops and coats the insides of the lungs of the fetus also helping in regulating the pressure in the amniotic sac and regulating fetal body temperatures.

The produced surfactant covering the internal surfaces of the lungs also aids in expanding the lungs and air sacs with the fluid and keeps the tissue inside from sticking together and even tearing as expanded and contracted with the breathing of the fluid during development and air at birth. It is essential to help the lungs drain out the fluid at delivery so that the infant can breathe air immediately after delivery and then it also helps the lungs hold the air properly in the sacs for gas exchanges in the lungs.

At 36 weeks there has usually been enough surfactant produced and the amniotic fluid also then contains growth factors.

The fluid is released when the woman's "water breaks" or is artificially "ruptured" to start labor.

Although not a biological function of amniotic fluid, it can be used for some diagnostic procedures when aspirated in amniocentesis. Analysis of amniotic fluid, drawn out of the mother's abdomen in an amniocentesis procedure, can reveal many aspects of the baby's genetic health. This is because the fluid also contains fetal cells, which can be used to test for genetic or developmental defects.


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