From the first weeks of pregnancy, an amniotic sac was formed around the fetus. Amniotic fluid not only protects the fetus, but it keeps a constant fetal temperature and allows the baby to breathe in the fluid while the lungs grow. Amniotic fluid is essential for the development of muscles, limbs, lungs and digestive system. The liquid mainly contains water during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and then there are nutrients, hormones, antibodies, and baby urine. Close to birth, there is approximately 1 liter of amniotic fluid in the bag. As you can see the importance of amniotic fluid, hence you need to be very careful about the amniotic fluid loss. In this article, we will be telling you about the signs, causes, and treatments of amniotic fluid loss.
What Is Considered A Normal Amniotic Fluid Level?
Liquid levels throughout pregnancy could be around:
- 60 milliliters (ml) after 12 weeks of gestation.
- 175 ml at 16 weeks of gestation.
- From 400 to 1200 ml between 34 and 38 weeks of gestation.
Your doctor can measure your amniotic fluid level using an ultrasound. There are two calculation methods, known as amniotic fluid (AFI) or maximum vertical pocket (MPV).
Effects of Amniotic Fluid Loss
Amniotic fluid spills can be dangerous for you and your baby at any time during pregnancy. Amniotic fluid leakage during the first and/or second trimester of pregnancy may cause complications like congenital malformation, abortion, premature birth, and the birth of a dead child.
In the third trimester, a low level of amniotic fluid can cause labor difficulties, increased risk for cesarean surgery, and umbilical cord wounds that can affect a child’s ability to get oxygen.
Signs of Amniotic Fluid Loss
Before understanding the signs, one must understand the texture. When you are pregnant, you may feel that everything is leaking. It becomes hard for you to determine whether the fluid is urine, amniotic fluid, or vaginal fluid.
However, amniotic fluid can have some of the following qualities –
- Blear, white-flecked, and/or with a mucus or blood tone
- No odor
Whereas, the urine will have an odor and vaginal fluid is usually white or yellow.
ALSO READ – Common Tests During Second And Third Trimester
Causes of Amniotic Fluid Loss
According to experts, only one in ten women will experience an “abundant flow” of amniotic fluid.
- Sometimes the amniotic sac breaks up before labor starts. If this happens before the 37th week of pregnancy, doctors refer to a premature membrane rupture (PROM).
- Women who have become pregnant less than 6 months after the last pregnancy have a higher risk of PROM.
- Contractions that put pressure on the amniotic sac and cause it to break.
- A urinary tract infection or a sexually transmitted infection (STI) can cause amniotic fluid loss.
- Medical conditions such as pulmonary disease and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are another cause.
- Exposure to harmful substances, including tobacco, drugs, and alcohol is also a cause.
- Too much or too little amniotic fluid can be a reason.
- The detachment of the placenta is also a reason.
When You Must Call A Doctor
- During pregnancy, loss of urine or vaginal discharge is common. However, when the fluid does not appear to be urine or secretion, it is best to get in touch with your doctor.
- Should you experience brown or green vaginal secretion, fever, fast heart rate, decrease in weight or lack of weight gain, you must see a doctor.
- Put on a sanitary pad and examine the liquid that is on the pad after 30 minutes to an hour. If the fluid is yellow in color, it is probably urine. If not, the fluid could be amniotic fluid.
- Call your doctor immediately if the liquid appears greenish-yellowish or brownish. This may indicate the child has had a bowel movement in the uterus, which can lead to breathing complications.
The doctor may take a sample of the fluid to determine whether it is amniotic fluid or not. This test will determine the real cause of leakage.
These tests may include a vaginal examination to determine if there is a cervix dilation. An ultrasound can help the doctor check the amount of fluid around the baby.
Treatment of Amniotic Fluid Loss
If the deadline has not yet reached the deadline, your doctor will need to closely monitor the development of the fetus. Stress shrinkage test and a non-stress fetal test is recommended to monitor pregnancy.
If pregnancy is near the deadline, doctors may ask for a delivery within 48 hours to reduce the risk of high amniotic fluid loss and increase the chances of the baby being born healthy.