Leaking Amniotic Fluid: Not normal.
Lets get to the basics here.
Table Of Contents
What is amniotic fluid?
Amniotic fluid is the fluid surrounding your baby in your womb.
It is between your amniotic sac (amnion) and your baby. Amniotic fluid cushions your baby as he or she flips their way around your womb, which helps baby develop bones and muscles.
Below is a great explanation video:
Purpose of amniotic fluid:
It also protects your baby from infection, and protects the umbilical cord from being crushed, which would cut off the flow of oxygen to the baby.
It also helps maintain a constant body temperature in the womb. It kinda works like a heater – and air conditioner – for baby!
What Is The Amniotic Fluid Color?
Amniotic fluid is colorless or slightly yellow.
What is meconium in amniotic fluid?
As long as baby hasn’t had his or her first bowel movement (meconium) while in the womb. Usually babies have their first after birth, but occasionally a baby will go early, and it turns the amniotic fluid green or brown.
Babies that pass meconium in the womb can be at higher risk of aspirating fluid into their lungs. This can cause serious creating problems (meconium aspiration syndrome), especially if the amniotic fluid is very thick. Some babies that pass meconium in the womb will require immediate treatment, while others will be fine without treatment.
Amount of Amniotic Fluid
At each prenatal appointment your midwife or doctor will measure your bump, checking on the amniotic fluid. If they are concerned, they might order an ultrasounds to verify amniotic fluid levels. Generally speaking, an AFI of 2 inches or less, or a deep pocket measurement of less than 0.8 inch, is considered low amniotic fluid, and will require further investigation by your doctor or midwife.
Normally, a pregnant woman’s amount of amniotic fluid should increase until around your 34th to 36th week of pregnancy.
How much amniotic fluid is normal?
By this time you should be carrying more than 25 ounces of amniotic fluid. After that time, it generally decreases until the baby is born.
What does too much amniotic fluid mean?
Having too much is called polyhydramnios. It’s a very rare and occurs in less than 1% of pregnancies. But it can cause complications such as pre-term labor, or a baby to be born stillborn. If you have polyhydramnios, talk to your doctor or midwife about their concerns and your treatment plan.
Having too little amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios) affects about 4% of women during their pregnancies, usually in the third trimester. This can also cause complications, such as when the baby’s umbilical cord depressed because of the lack of amniotic fluid.
This can prevents oxygen from getting to the baby.
How To Increase Your Amniotic Fluid
While you’re pregnant, its important to eat right and drink lots of fluid. Staying well hydrated can help improve slightly low amniotic fluid levels. If you have low amounts of amniotic fluid, your doctor or midwife may order intravenous fluids or rehydration therapy at home.
Studies have shown hydration therapy significantly improves the quantity of amniotic fluid in women with oligohydramnios.
If you have too much, or too little, amniotic fluid follow your doctor’s or midwife’s orders completely. Amniotic fluid is very important to the development of your baby. Taking care of yourself (and baby) now, will lead to a healthier birth for both mom and baby.
Leaking Amniotic Fluid
When you’re pregnant, so many different things leak out of you that you might as well just buy throwaway granny panties now. Sorry ladies, but it’s true.
On TV, when a woman’s water breaks, its obvious. She feels it, gushes water, and knows immediately her water has broken. It’s not always so clear cut in real life though.
How to tell if your leaking amniotic fluid:
When you aren’t gushing, but are leaking slowly, it can be hard to tell where the fluid is coming from.
There are three main sources of leakage in pregnant women:
- Urine usually has the smell of urine or ammonium.
- When you’re leaking urine, it’s usually clear yellowish or darker.
- Unfortunately, leaking from the bladder is more common as you advance in the 2nd & 3rd trimesters – and your baby presses on your bladder continuously.
- Vaginal Discharge:
- General vaginal discharge is usually thicker and creamier than amniotic fluid or urine.
- Vaginal discharge can be white or yellow.
- Discharge may, or may not, have an odor. It does not smell like urine, ever.
- Amniotic Fluid:
- Amniotic fluid is usually clear and odorless.
- What does amniotic fluid smell like? May have a “sweetish” smell.
- It does not smell like urine.
- May have mucous flecks (whitish) in fluid.
If you are leaking, and still can’t tell if its urine, amniotic fluid or vaginal discharge, try going to the bathroom. Once your bladder is empty, if you continue to leak it’s probably amniotic fluid. You can wear a pad to check the fluid, if you prefer.
You can purchase pH strips to test your discharge and help determine if it’s amniotic fluid or vaginal discharge. Amniotic fluid is much more alkaline than vaginal discharge.
These test strips determine the alkalinity of your leakage, to determine if its probably amniotic fluid or not. Home bought test kits are not scientifically tested for in-home use, but operate on the same basis as test kits used in hospitals and doctor’s offices.
You may leak fluid instead of it gushing out of you, if your baby is low in your cervix, or if your amniotic sac has a little pinhole without rupturing.
If you are leaking amniotic fluid slowly, don’t worry.
Your body can replace small amounts of fluid lost due to leakage.
Severe leaking can cause serious complication so talk to your doctor or midwife if you leak a large amount of amniotic fluid.
I’ve been leaking a lot of fluid. The hospital says it’s not amniotic fluid. What’s going on?
If you think your water broke (your amniotic sac ruptured), note the time. Its important to the timing of the birth of your baby. Do not put anything in your vagina, as this can introduce an infection to your baby. This means no more sex until after you are cleared by your doctor.
If you think your water broke, or you aren’t sure, call your doctor or midwife. They will help determine if you are leaking amniotic fluid or not.
Most women’s water breaks toward the end of the first stage of labor.
For about 10% of women, their amniotic sacs rupture before labor starts, which is called PROM (pre labor rupture of membrane at term). PPROM (preterm pre labor rupture of membranes) happens to about 30% of pregnant women, and means their amniotic sac ruptured before the baby is full term at 37 weeks.
If your water breaks when you are full-term, get ready to meet your baby!
For some women its the first sign of impending labor, while others feel contractions prior to their amniotic sac rupturing. Either way, if you are full term (37 weeks or father), your baby is on his or her way.
They will probably be born within the next 24 hours – Congratulations!