It's normal for a woman to undergo minor health complications when she is pregnant. The fluid present inside her womb is enclosed by a double layered membrane, known as the amniotic sac, inside which the fetus grows. Fluid leaking during pregnancy is one of the most common signs of preterm labor. The sac bursts open after completion of 38 weeks so that the baby can be delivered. Health complications arise when the amniotic fluid starts leaking before 38 weeks. We shall study the reasons in details in the upcoming segment.
Leaking Fluid During Pregnancy: An Overview
Identifying the Fluid
The vaginal discharge taking place during pregnancy is a consequence of change in hormonal levels of progesterone and estrogen. As your delivery date comes closer, the fluid is secreted in large excess, that is thin and transparent in nature. Unlike normal cervical and mucus discharge, the amniotic fluid is absolutely clear which might sometimes contain a few drops of blood in it.
The surge of fluid is sometimes so heavy that you might sense it as peeing. The amniotic sac is like a bag of water that tends to leak during the end of the third trimester. You can easily identify an amniotic fluid by its texture and appearance. The cervical or vaginal discharge that normally takes place throughout your gestation period is thick, yellowish and it contains a lot of mucus.
Doctors say that, until she goes into labor, a woman should never leak amniotic fluid. From this sentence you can well assume that leaking amniotic fluid before the given delivery date is not something safe and it takes place when the membrane surrounding the fluid raptures. If you notice gush of fluid from your vagina before reaching 38 weeks, then you must immediately visit your doctor. The leaked fluid might cause infection to your baby. Since the amniotic fluid contains all the essential nutrients for providing nourishment, its premature leaking poses health threats to the baby. However, as already said, leaking out of fluid after 38 weeks is considered to be normal and this phase is commonly knows as 'water break' phase.
One of the main reason behind rupture of membranes is, presence of very low amount of amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios) inside the sac. This condition is clinically defined as Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM). In such a condition, you might either observe trickling of fluid or there could also be a surge. Loss of amniotic fluid due to early rupture of membrane might cause severe health hazards to the baby.
The amniotic fluid aids in development of various organs (lungs, limbs, digestive system) of the baby, whose loss impairs growth of fetal organs and it also causes various other birth defects. Women also carry the risk of miscarriage due to premature fluid loss. Women who have a history of high blood pressure, hypertension and other types of heart problems are more vulnerable to premature rupture of membranes. On the contrary, high levels of amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) might also cause leakage of fluid.
Note: The normal levels of amniotic fluid when you reach 36 weeks should range between 800ml and 1000ml.
Usually an amniotic fluid test is performed by doctors to detect its level. The medication and treatment is purely based on the underlying reason and the results of the tests conducted. You should increase intake of water when your fluid volume is below normal. Women who have excessive amniotic fluid sometimes undergo amnioreduction for normalizing the volume. Medications for bringing down the level to normal, are often prescribed for preventing leakage. You should also observe the movement of your baby and report to a doctor whenever needed.
Pregnancy is a crucial stage and you must be very careful with your health. The best way to avoid complications is to lead a healthy lifestyle and follow the guidelines religiously given forth by your doctor.