During pregnancy, baby resides in fluid filled bag amniotic sac that is the support system for baby. It enables baby to breathe, swallow liquid, allow turning, moving without any hindrance. Amniotic sac has two membranes- amnion and chorion which keeps the baby sealed in amniotic sac. The amniotic membrane typically breaks open when pregnancy comes to term, fluid flows out and baby is ready to come out, which is commonly referred to as the waters breaking.
Three different sources of fluid can leak during pregnancy- amniotic fluid, urine, and vaginal discharge. It is difficult for women to distinguish among these discharges. Symptoms of these discharges differ from each other and may provide some clues to women. In case of urine, it has a distinctive urine odor and yellowish or darker in colour. In case of vaginal discharge, it is whitish or yellowish in colour and has thick consistency. The amniotic fluid is colorless and odorless and can have white flecks of mucus. If leakage is continuous, chances are high of amniotic membrane leakage.
Premature amniotic fluid leak
When baby birth is due, the amniotic sac breaks upon and amniotic fluid leaks out of vaginal area which is called “Spontaneous Rupture of the Membranes and this is perfectly normal. The leakage of amniotic fluid prior to 37 or 38 weeks is called “Premature Rupture of the Membranes”. Premature leakage of amniotic fluid during the first and second trimester can lead to a miscarriage or a stillborn baby. Leaking amniotic fluid can predispose mother and baby to infection; so seek doctor help immediately.
Causes of Premature Amniotic Membrane Rupture:
Infection of the uterus, cervix, or vagina
Low amniotic fluid levels
An injury or trauma to the amniotic sac
Psychological issues such as stress
Poor lifestyle habits during pregnancy, including drugs, alcohol, or poor diet
Previous surgeries to the cervix or uterus
A history of the amniotic sac rupturing prematurely
Treatments for Leaking Amniotic Fluid:
The treatment for leaking amniotic fluid depends on the stage of pregnancy. If water breaks at near full term, doctor may proceed quickly to delivery. If water breaks before full term and it is minor tear, doctor simply monitor progress as it heal by itself. In case of major tear, you may need to stay in hospital to give baby with more time to develop with close monitoring of doctor.
Examine the fluid to try to confirm, but if uncertain, don’t delay visit to hospital to be evaluated.