Leaking amniotic fluid is a problem experienced by many pregnant women. Delayed treatment often poses a danger to both the unborn child and the mother. Is it a sign of early pregnancy? How does it feel when you experience leaking amniotic fluid?
The purpose of the amniotic fluid is to nestle an unborn child in the mother’s womb. The amniotic sac where the fluid is found has two membranes:
- The amnion
- The chorion
The two membranes keep your unborn child sealed in a bag containing amniotic fluid. This fluid is produced in your amniotic sac within two weeks after conception has taken place. It is the life support system of your embryo together with the placenta and umbilical cord.
Read on to know more about leaking amniotic fluid, discharge at 38 weeks, early pregnancy, second trimester, 16 weeks, symptoms, test, NHS, and urine.
What does Leaking amniotic fluid feel like?
Amniotic fluid enables your baby to breathe properly. The baby is likely to start swallowing the liquid during your second trimester. Its main function is to protect the unborn child from getting hurt.
The fluid contains essential nutrients that aid in development of the baby’s digestive system, lungs, muscles, and limbs. It makes it possible for a baby to kick and move without any hindrances. It also provides protection against infections.
A fetus uses this fluid for many functions as noted above. Its levels will therefore increase and decrease with each passing day. Its levels will increase from a few milliliters to about one thousand milliliters as your pregnancy continues to progress. It gets to its highest level in your thirty-sixth week of pregnancy.
The levels will then begin to drop from the thirty-eighth week until your delivery day. Amniotic fluid leak is a problem that is commonly ignored by many pregnant women. It is known as Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes when it takes place during labor.
It is however referred to as Premature Rupture of Membranes if it occurs between your 37th and 38th week. The leak will feel like a small like gush from your vagina.
What are the signs of leaking amniotic fluid vs discharge?
It may be a bit difficult to tell whether what you are observing in your undergarments is a sign of amniotic fluid leak. It is however a bit different from vaginal discharge. The fluid is:
- Traditionally odorless
- It is mostly clear. It could at times be tinged with mucous, blood, or white specs
- Leaks continuously. At times it has a very steady flow
- You do not have any control over the leak
- You need to change your liner pads and undergarments frequently as the leak is steady
You may experience some discomfort and cramping as well. There is a probability that it is not amniotic fluid if:
- Has a yellow tinge similar to that of urine
- Has a urine like smell
- You experience a sudden leak accompanied by movement in your womb.
- The leak has a mucous like consistency that requires you to switch your pads or liners for hygiene purposes. Such a leak will not soak through your pads. It is an indication that you have a vaginal discharge.
What are the symptoms for slow amniotic fluid leak?
You can tell whether you have a leak during your pregnancy if:
- You notice a sudden fluid gush running along the length of your legs after the water has broken
- Your underwear feels wet
- Notice a small leak or trickle
It may be difficult to establish the source of a small leak. Consider going to the hospital for a consultation if you are not sure what is causing the leak. A continuous flow is indicative of a leak.
You could also be leaking the fluid if you continue experiencing the wetness even after emptying your bladder.
Leaking amniotic fluid according to NHS
An amniotic sac is a fluid filled bag in your uterus. This is where your unborn child will develop and grow in readiness for delivery. The sac is in some instances referred to as membranes because it comprises of two membranes.
The sac is filled with a fluid that is clear, and pale straw-colored. Your unborn baby floats and moves in this fluid. The fluid provides protection against injuries while supplying your child with fluids that it can swallow.
It additionally aids in developing the muscle and skeletal system of your baby. Your amniotic sac will start to fill with this fluid a few days after conceiving. The baby will regularly pass small amounts of urine into the amniotic fluid starting from the tenth pregnancy week.
Leaking amniotic fluid at 16 weeks
Amniotic fluid will normally break at the beginning of your labor. Any leak taking place earlier than this is deemed an immature leak. Leaks occurring between the 15th and 16th week will typically require urgent medical attention.
- Being admitted in a medical facility for close monitoring
- Check up to confirm whether you have had a miscarried
- Your doctor will discuss your options after monitoring you for a while
Leaking amniotic fluid 2nd trimester
A leak in your second trimester means that there is a tear present in your sac. The tear may heal with time. It may also fail to heal.
A scan will need should be performed to determine what could be causing the leak. It is important to note that there are very many weird things that happens in your body during your pregnancy phase. It may therefore be a bit difficult to establish what is normal and what is not.
Regular checkups with your GP can help put you at ease. Some tests should be performed to establish what is behind the leaking amniotic fluid.
Leaking amniotic fluid at 38 weeks
There are instances where your amniotic sac may rupture or tear before your delivery date. This is known as Premature Rupture of Membrane. It often leads to continuous fluid leakage.
The rupture or tear can be caused by:
- A bacterial infection
- Existing history of PROM
- Presence of a defect in the development of your fetus
- Infection in your vagina, uterus, or cervix.
- Poor personal lifestyle preferences like smoking, drugs, and alcohol abuse
- Tension in your amniotic sac because of a large baby or twins
- Poor diet
- Prior surgeries in your cervical region or uterus
What are the leaking amniotic fluid tests at home?
You should perform some home tests to determine whether the wetness experienced is because of leaking fluids. You can easily test at home using a litmus paper. The litmus paper assists in establishing the pH value of the suspect fluids.
Litmus papers are also used in over the counter Vagisil testing kits. A dark yellow result on the litmus paper means that you have a positive result. This is an indication that you have an infection or are leaking amniotic fluid.
The litmus papers used to check the fish tank pH levels can also be used in such a test. They are a cheap
Leaking amniotic fluid early pregnancy
A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy in the early gestation weeks. Many miscarriages take place in the first thirteen weeks of your pregnancy, according to data from the American Pregnancy Association. About ten to twenty-five percent of all confirmed pregnancies will normally end in a miscarriage.
It is important to recognize the signs as it enables you to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The Signs to lookout for will include:
- Passing gray or light pink material
- Passing huge amounts of fluids all of a sudden
- Passing large tissue pieces
- Experiencing a pinkish discharge
Passing tissue or fluid during early pregnancy could be an indication of a miscarriage, according to Mayo Clinic. The tissue or fluid being passed may or may not have any blood in it. The above symptoms could be normal signs indicating hormonal changes in your body.
They may also spell trouble for your pregnancy. You should try to stay in close contact with your GP.
alternative to the ordinary ones.
Leaking amniotic fluid or urine
There are three principal sources of fluids in your vagina: vaginal discharge, urine, or amniotic fluid leaks. Noting the differences between the three can provide some clues on what is causing the wetness you are experiencing.
1. Leaking amniotic fluid
It will have the following properties:
- May contain mucus or whitish mucus flecks
- Odorless and colorless. It may have a sweetish type of smell in some instances
- Presence of bloody specks
- Does not have the urine odor
A continuous leak means that the fluid is indeed amniotic.
Urine will normally have the following properties:
- It will have an ammonium odor
- Dark or clear yellowish
A bladder leak will mainly occur in your second and third trimester. The baby will be pressing against the bladder during these two trimesters.
3. Vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge is not uncommon as well. It is likely to have the following properties:
- An odor may or may not be present. It however does not have the ammonia smell synonymous with urine
- Can be yellowish or whitish
- Will have a thicker appearance than that of urine or amniotic fluid
Call your doctor as soon as possible if you are unsure on what could be the causing the leak. Always err on the cautious side.
Sources and references:
- Leaking Amniotic Fluid during Pregnancy: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/leaking-amniotic-fluid – intro1
- http://www.momjunction.com/articles/leaking-amniotic-fluid-during-pregnancy_00330901/ – gref