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How Will I Know If I Am Leaking Amniotic Fluid?

5 min read

amniotic fluid leakage
It is very important to understand the meaning of certain symptoms experienced during pregnancy. Moreover, it is equally important not to ignore the signs that deviate from normality, even though they seems harmless to you. Understanding the sources and reasons of leakage through the vagina or vaginal discharge is one among them. This is because identifying the amniotic fluid leakage, evaluating the seriousness and taking necessary steps accordingly is significant in the course of pregnancy. In spite of this fact, a trickle or slow constant leak of amniotic fluid is one of the issues that most of the pregnant women ignore because of lack of awareness. Most of them mistake that damp feeling while changing the undergarment, as just normal pregnancy discharge. Continue reading to know more about the amniotic fluid and signs of its leakage during the pregnancy.

  • What Is Amniotic Fluid?
  • What Is Amniotic Fluid Made Of?
  • What Is Considered As Normal Levels of Amniotic Fluid?
  • What Other Vaginal Leakages Are Experienced During Pregnancy?
  • How Will I Know If I Am Leaking Amniotic Fluid?
  • What Causes Amniotic Fluid Leakage?
  • How Does Amniotic Fluid Leakage Affect The Developing Baby?
  • What Treatment Options Are Available For Amniotic Fluid Leakage?
  • Things You Should Take Care Of In Case Of Amniotic Fluid Leakage

What Is Amniotic Fluid?

Amniotic fluid is a warm, clear yellowish fluid that fills the amniotic sac, in which the baby is settled safely and floats throughout the pregnancy. Amniotic sac has two coverings – chorion and amnion. Amniotic sac creates the amniotic fluid two weeks past the pregnancy. The amniotic fluid provides the optimal temperature for the developing infant. It also works as a wonderful shock absorber, which safely guards the baby, even if the baby bump becomes gets a blow or accidentally gets pressed against something tough.

What Is Amniotic Fluid Made Of?

At the beginning stage, amniotic fluid consists of nothing but water and electrolytes. However, as the weeks pass, it will also take into itself hormones, lipids, nutrients, and the urine of your baby. Recent studies show that it also contains an eminent quantity of stem cells.

What Is Considered As Normal Levels of Amniotic Fluid?

As your pregnancy progress, the levels of amniotic fluid keeps on increasing till about 36 weeks. At 36 weeks, it is at its highest levels. The normal levels of amniotic fluids during your pregnancy could be around:

  • 60 milliliters (mL) at 12 weeks gestation
  • 175 mL at 16 weeks gestation
  • 400 to 1,200 mL between 34 and 38 weeks gestation

(Source)

What Other Vaginal Leakages Are Experienced During Pregnancy?

Towards the final trimester of pregnancy, the pressure your baby puts on your body increases tremendously. This naturally leads to increased cervical discharges. Other than the amniotic fluid leakage, you may also experience-

  • Urine leakage: Leakage of urine happens as the urinary bladder will be under tremendous pressure because the growing uterus presses against it
  • Increased vaginal discharge: Once you get into the third trimester, more mucus is secreted in the cervical area, resulting in increased vaginal discharge

As far as the pregnancy is concerned, both of these leakages are considered normal.

How Will I Know If I Am Leaking Amniotic Fluid?

Leakage of amniotic fluid can happen either as a sudden gush or as a slow and continuous trickle. As there are other possible sources of the leakage, it might be difficult to determine the proper source of leakage. Therefore, knowing the distinction between the possible sources is significant to recognize the amniotic fluid leakage. The following table will help you to recognize the leakage of amniotic fluid.

Signs Of Amniotic Fluid Leakage
Amniotic fluid leakage Urine leakage Increased vaginal discharge
Odorless You will never miss the distinct smell of urine With or without an odor. However, definitely will not smell like urine
Significantly damps the undergarment The undergarment soaks less The undergarment soaks less
Continuous leakage Leakage is not continuous Will not be as continuous as amniotic fluid
Still leaks after emptying the bladder The leak will stop after emptying the bladder
Amniotic fluid leakage is involuntary, that is you cannot control it If you try, you can stop the urine leakage even for a couple of seconds Vaginal discharges are involuntary
It can be clear or come with whitish flecks, pinkish tinge (with blood),or mucus There will not be pinkish tinge or white flecks Thicker than amniotic fluid and urine
Usually colorless sometime yellowish clear fluid Yellowish Whitish or yellowish

amniotic fluid
Now you know the basic difference between the three leakages. Here are some tips, which help you to confirm the amniotic fluid leakage:

  • Still leaking after emptying the bladder is the significant t sign of amniotic fluid leakage. Put a panty liner after emptying the bladder. Observe the pad after half an hour. If the fluid in the pad has a yellow tinge, most probably, it will be the urine. If the fluid is colorless and odorless you are experiencing amniotic fluid leakage
  • Put a fresh pad and hold the pelvic floor muscle tight like when you intentionally stop the urination in between the process. If there is no fluid in the pad, you will be probably experiencing leakage of the urine. Otherwise, if still there is fluid in the pad, you are experiencing amniotic fluid leakage
  • Nitrazine test can also confirm the amniotic fluid leakage, this test conforms the alkaline property of the fluid. As the amniotic fluid is alkaline, the positive result indicates amniotic fluid leakage and rupture of the membrane

What Causes Amniotic Fluid Leakage?

Tears that happen in the amniotic sac is the major cause of amniotic fluid leakage. It can be minor, resulting in slow leakage or can be major, resulting in the gush out of the fluid. The main reasons that lead to amniotic fluid leakage includes:

  • Oligohydramnios or low level of amniotic fluid
  • Trauma that happens to amniotic sac
  • Poor lifestyle habits
  • Infections of uterus or birth canal
  • A previous history of amniotic sac rupture

How Does Amniotic Fluid Leakage Affect The Developing Baby?

Leakage of amniotic fluid at any time during the pregnancy can spell trouble for both you and your baby. Complications like birth defects, miscarriage, premature delivery, or stillbirth may arise if too much amniotic fluid leaks in the first or the second trimesters. In the third trimester, leakage of amniotic fluid can cause a hard labor, slow growth, or the baby’s oxygen supply resulting in a cesarean delivery. It is best to call your doctor if you notice that the leakage seems abnormal.

What Treatment Options Are Available For Amniotic Fluid Leakage?

Irrespective of the fact whether the leakage is accompanied by the contraction or its quantity, it is better to inform your doctor. If your due date is near, then the doctor will ask you to go to the hospital for attempting delivery. If you are not near the due date and leakage is slow, then the tears in the amniotic sac can be minor and most probably heal by itself. In that case, the mother will be closely monitored. In the case of preterm rupture of the membrane, the treatment is available depending on the cause.

Things You Should Take Care Of In Case Of Amniotic Fluid Leakage

In case you are experiencing amniotic fluid leakage, you:

  • Should inform your doctor as soon as possible
  • Note the time you start to experience amniotic fluid leakage
  • Evaluate the approximate quantity of the leakage until you reach the doctor. He may need this to take further decisions
  • Never put anything, including your finger inside the vagina, as, it increases the chances of infection
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