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Q&A:
At 14 weeks, could I be leaking amniotic fluid?

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Question


At 14 weeks, could I be leaking amniotic fluid?

Answer


Because you've had a previous miscarriage, you're very wise to want to know whether what you've experienced is the normal vaginal discharge of pregnancy or leaking amniotic fluid. The primary means of distinguishing between the two would be the amount of the watery discharge and how long it continued. During the second and third trimesters of pregnancy it is easier to determine when the amniotic sac breaks, because there would be a gush of fluid or a continuous dripping of fluid. But it is possible that at 14 weeks gestation there would not yet be a great deal of amniotic fluid, thus making this harder to determine. If you were having a miscarriage you would probably experience other symptoms as well, such as cramping and bleeding.

What you're noticing is more likely the normal thin, colorless, odorless, mucous discharge called leukorrhea, which occurs during pregnancy. It's caused by increased hormone levels in your body that stimulate increased blood flow to the tissues around the vagina, resulting in the discharge. The only way to determine for certain whether the discharge is amniotic fluid is to see your health care provider, who can do a nitrazine test. This is done by inserting a cotton swab into the vagina; if the discharge is amniotic fluid, the swab will change from a yellow to blue color. Another test is a ferning test. The vaginal fluid is viewed under a microscope; if it is amniotic fluid it looks like a fern or the branches of a pine tree.

If the vaginal discharge is bothersome to you throughout the remainder of your pregnancy, there are several measures you can try:
* Wear cotton or cotton-crotched underwear to keep the genital area clean and dry.
* Wear a mini pad in your underwear to absorb the discharge; do NOT use tampons.
* Avoid tight clothing.
* Rinse the vaginal area thoroughly after washing in the tub or shower; avoid using strong perfumed soaps in the genital area, which can cause irritation.
* Do not douche unless your health care provider prescribes it.

If the vaginal discharge ever changes from being clear and odorless to looking yellow, green, thick, or cheesy; has a foul odor; and is accompanied by itching or burning, that is a sign of an infection and would be another reason to see your health care provider. Don't ever be hesitant to contact your provider when you have a concern; a quick phone call or visit is worth the effort to relieve any fears or uncertainties you may be experiencing.  
 
 
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