Is it my waters?

It can sometimes be hard for the woman to tell whether her waters have broken or not.

If fluid is coming away, it could be amniotic fluid, heavy vaginal discharge or even urine. Vaginal discharge can become quite heavy in late pregnancy, and at times when a woman gets up from resting for a length of time, it can come away as a small trickle of fluid. In late pregnancy it is also not unusual to involuntarily lose small trickles of urine.

If you think your waters have broken, try to empty your bladder and then wear a pad to see if any more fluid is coming away. You may wish to smell the pad to see. Amniotic fluid will not have the acidic smell of urine (it smells more alkaline – some people describe the smell as being like hay or like a mouse nest).

You will need to contact your caregiver, and ascertain their policy on leaking waters, with regards to time limits and inductions. You may be asked to come in to check if the waters have actually broken, or just to stay in touch by phone, until further fluid comes away. If you do go to see your LMC take any underwear or pads that could contain amniotic fluid for your caregiver to see.

If your waters break and there are no contractions, there is no cause for alarm. Your caregiver will guide you through the next step which may be simply to wait up to several days (with daily check ups) before inducing labour if all seems well.

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