Leaking Amniotic Fluid
What is amniotic fluid?
Should a pregnant woman be alarmed by leaking amniotic fluid? Amniotic fluid is a clear and yellowish liquid that surrounds the developing fetus. This fluid is stored and kept inside an amniotic sac where the fetus can freely move without any worries of hitting the walls as the fluid serves as cushion. The main role of the amniotic fluid is to provide nutrition, encourage healthy development, and serve as the fetus’ life support system. Too much or too less of this fluid can cause great danger for both the mother and the baby. Normally, as the mother nears labor, leaking amniotic fluid is the number one sign that the baby is on its way and most of us are familiar with this term as “water breaks”.
Premature Rapture of Membrane (PROM)
There are cases, though, wherein leaking amniotic fluid comes earlier than normal, and this is not a good sign. When leaking occurs 37 to 38 weeks before the full term, this is called premature rupture of membrane or PROM. A rupture in the amniotic sac causes the leakage of amniotic fluid and may continue to discharge until the sac heals itself.
Causes of Leaking Amniotic Fluid
For a fetus to develop normally and grow healthy it needs enough amniotic fluid, and leakage can disrupt the fetus’ development. And because the sac is also cut open, possible infection may enter and endanger the baby’s health.
The rupture in the sac can be caused by several factors including bacterial infection, injury, trauma, and defect in the amniotic sac. This tear can come from mild to severe cases. For a small tear, the tear will just heal itself for just a short period of time and the leakage will eventually stop on its own. However when leakage is caused by a severe rupture in the sac, this is the time that the mother should seek medical help right away to avoid further complications especially for the baby.
Symptoms of Leaking Amniotic Fluid
More often than not, especially first time moms, they often confuse amniotic fluid with urine so they tend to wear tampons to avoid getting wet. But this practice is not advised as there is a high possibility of getting infected which could be very harmful for the baby.
The amniotic fluid is colorless, odorless, and usually the undergarment becomes soaked because of the significant amount discharged. It is important to take note of the discharge that comes out from your body, specifically the color and the time of discharge. Instead of tampons, wear sanitary napkin. This way, it is easier to see and observe the color of the discharge.
If the amniotic fluid appears green or yellowish brown, the woman should go to the hospital right away. Normally, the baby takes its first bowel movement after birth but in some cases, they can have their first bowel movement called meconium while inside the womb which causes the change of color in the amniotic fluid. When the meconium gets mixed with the amniotic fluid, the baby is at risk of swallowing it which may lead to fetal death.
Treatment for Leaking Amniotic Fluid
Any signs of leaking amniotic fluid should not be taken lightly. If you are unsure what the discharges are, have it check by your doctor right away. For severe cases, complete bed rest is advised with close monitoring by the doctor. But in severe cases of amniotic sac rupture, delivery within 24 hours is advised to avoid further complications and harm to the baby.