Amniotic Fluid/Bag of Water
Amniotic fluid is a clear odorless liquid, which surrounds and protects the baby in the uterus and provides a protective barrier from the outside environment.
- Why is the Amniotic Fluid/Bag of Waters Important?
- How Will I Know the Bag of Waters has broken?
- What do I do if My Water Breaks?
Why is the Amniotic Fluid/Bag of Waters Important?
The amniotic fluid, or bag of waters, surrounds and protects the baby in the uterus and provides a protective barrier from the outside environment. Once the bag of waters breaks, bacteria now has a way of entering the uterus through the vagina and could cause an infection in either the baby, the mother or both. Therefore, you should not douche, or have intercourse after the bag of water breaks.
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How Will I Know the Bag of Waters has broken?
The bag of waters could break spontaneously with either a gush of fluid or a continuous, uncontrollable trickle of fluid from the vagina.
It is sometimes difficult to determine, even for physicians, midwives and labor nurses, if the fluid you are leaking is amniotic fluid or urine. If you are unsure, follow these steps:
- Empty your bladder.
- As more fluid leaks, collect some on a sanitary pad.
- If it has a yellow color, it is probably urine. Amniotic fluid is usually colorless and odorless.
- Do a Kegel exercise by holding the pelvic floor muscle tight and see if the fluid stops leaking. If the fluid stops, it is probably urine.
If there is any question that your water may have broken, contact your healthcare provider.
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What do I do if My Water Breaks?
Note the color of the fluid and the time when the water broke and call your physician or midwife. If the fluid is clear and your are having only mild contractions or none at all, your physician or midwife may have you stay home for awhile. If the amniotic fluid is green, brownish-yellow, or anything other than clear in color, notify your physician or midwife and come to the hospital as soon as possible.
Although most physicians and midwives prefer babies to be delivered 24 hours (or less) after the rupture of membranes to prevent infection, some physicians and midwives allow women to labor longer. Check with your physician or midwife regarding the timeframe they follow with ruptured membranes and how they monitor for infection.
There is no such thing as a "dry birth." Approximately one third of the liquid is replaced every hour.
Read about your water breaking
Read more about Amniotic Fluid
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