Amniotic Fluid Leakage: How to Act?

July 8, 2024

This article will guide you through the main aspects of amniotic fluid leakage, helping you to better understand how to recognize it, what causes it, the possible consequences, and how to behave.

How to understand if there is amniotic fluid leakage?

Recognizing amniotic fluid leakage is not always easy, especially because it can be confused with other types of common discharges during pregnancy.

Amniotic fluid is generally odorless, clear, and may have a slightly viscous consistency.

Unlike normal vaginal discharge, it tends to flow more continuously and abundantly.

A distinctive sign is that these leaks do not stop when changing position or contracting the pelvic muscles.

Additionally, you may notice that your underwear gets wet quickly and more consistently compared to normal vaginal secretions.

It’s important to pay attention to the quantity as well: while small leaks can be difficult to distinguish, more abundant leaks are a clear signal that requires immediate attention.

If in doubt, it’s always better to consult your doctor or midwife, who can perform specific tests to confirm or exclude the presence of amniotic fluid.

What are the causes of leakage?

The causes of amniotic fluid leakage can vary and depend on the period of pregnancy in which they occur. In most cases, it’s a premature rupture of membranes, which can happen both at term and before the end of pregnancy.

In the early stages of pregnancy, amniotic fluid leakage can be associated with fetal development problems or infections.

In later stages, it can be due to trauma, urinary tract or vaginal infections, or simply the beginning of labor.

It’s important to emphasize that in some cases, leaks can be the result of a small fissure in the amniotic membranes, which can heal spontaneously.

However, this situation still requires careful medical monitoring.

Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of amniotic fluid leakage include multiple pregnancies, previous premature births, genital tract infections, smoking during pregnancy, and some medical procedures such as amniocentesis.

amniotic fluid leakage

What happens if I lose amniotic fluid?

The consequences of amniotic fluid leakage largely depend on the moment of pregnancy when they occur and the amount of fluid lost.

Amniotic fluid plays a crucial role in fetal development, protecting it from shocks, maintaining a constant temperature, and allowing the development of the lungs and musculoskeletal system.

If leakage occurs in the early stages of pregnancy, it can pose significant risks to fetal development. In later stages, the main risk is related to the possibility of premature birth.

In case of substantial leaks, the risk of infections for both mother and fetus increases. Moreover, the reduction of amniotic fluid can lead to complications such as umbilical cord compression or respiratory difficulties for the fetus.

It’s important to emphasize that not all amniotic fluid leaks necessarily lead to serious consequences. In some cases, especially if promptly and correctly managed, pregnancy can continue without significant complications.

What should I do if I have amniotic fluid leakage?

If you suspect you have amniotic fluid leakage, the first thing to do is to stay calm. However, it’s crucial to act promptly:

  1. Immediately contact your doctor or reference hospital.
  2. Wear a clean pad to monitor the quantity and color of the leakage.
  3. Avoid using tampons or taking baths.
  4. Minimize movements and, if possible, lie on your left side.
  5. Don’t attempt to self-diagnose or treat the situation on your own.

Once at the hospital or at the doctor’s, specific examinations will be performed to confirm the presence of amniotic fluid and evaluate your and the baby’s conditions.

These may include a speculum examination, laboratory tests, and an ultrasound.

Treatment will depend on the week of pregnancy, the amount of fluid lost, and general conditions.

Hospitalization for monitoring may be necessary, administration of antibiotics to prevent infections, or in some cases, induction of labor if the pregnancy is at term or if there are health risks.

We at Parentalife are with you

Facing a situation of amniotic fluid leakage can be scary, but remember that you are not alone. We at Parentalife are here to support you with reliable information and practical advice.

Your health and that of your baby are the priority. Never hesitate to ask for help or clarifications from your doctor or midwife. We are here to support you in every phase of this wonderful journey that is motherhood, even in moments of uncertainty.

SOURCES

Dayal S, Hong PL. Premature Rupture of Membranes. [Updated 2023 Lug 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: qui: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532888/

About the Author

Severino Cirillo

Health, Wellness and Education Expert. With a degree in Community Health, he is the CEO of Informed Parent and is responsible for validating the blog's scientific information and coordinating the editorial team of experts, consisting of gynecologists, midwives, psychotherapists, and others in pregnancy, perinatal, and parenting wellness and health.