Can You Leak Amniotic Fluid If Your Cervix Is Closed? (8 Possible Causes For Preterm PROM)

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An amniotic fluid release is clear and odorless to identify. It’s a continuous leak and will differ from other discharges during pregnancy. This usually starts to leak when a woman is about to go into labor, but if it does before that, it’s known as preterm PROM. This can be risky for the baby’s and mother’s health and cause infections or issues with the umbilical cord. Once the amniotic fluid starts leaking, it can’t be stopped, so doctors have to use various methods to ensure the baby is delivered safely without complications. Women with preterm rupture can deliver at 34 weeks if stable. It’s crucial to see your doctor right away.

Every mother knows the importance of the amniotic fluid surrounding their baby in the womb. While this fluid has many vital functions, it must stay intact until the baby is about to come.

Usually, this fluid comes when the sac breaks as the mother goes into labor, which is natural and healthy. But if someone experiences this fluid before they go into labor, it could be a reason to worry.

So what does this premature leaking means for your baby? How is it caused? How can you stop it before the baby is ready to come? Let’s find out.

How do I know my amniotic fluid is leaking?

Before we learn more about this premature leaking of amniotic fluid, it’s vital to know if the fluid leak is actually from the amniotic sac or something else entirely.

If you have seen movies, they usually show it as a gush of water for some pregnant women. While the sac can break this way, not every woman goes through the same experience.

It could also be in the form of slow trickling. The fluid is clear and odorless but may sometimes contain traces of blood or mucus and is constant.

What is preterm PROM?

The water breaking usually takes place when the woman is going into labor and is becoming ready to deliver the baby.

But if a pregnant woman experiences water breaking before she’s ready to deliver, it’s known as preterm premature rupture of membranes (PROM).

Preterm PROM occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy and occurs in about 8 to 10 percent of all pregnancies.

What causes preterm PROM?

Preterm rupture of the membrane can be a difficult thing to handle for the mother experiencing it.

While the whole thing seems absurd, there are reasons why one could go through this experience.

  1. Natural weakening of the membranes or from the force of contractions
  2. Infection in the uterus
  3. Low socioeconomic conditions as women don’t receive proper prenatal care
  4. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea
  5. Previous preterm birth
  6. Vaginal bleeding
  7. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy
  8. Unknown causes

Symptoms of preterm PROM

Experiences may usually differ from woman to woman, but mainly they could experience leaking or gush of watery fluid from the vagina and constant wetness in underwear.

You must differentiate it from urine as pregnant women often tend to pee in their underwear towards the end of the pregnancy due to losing control of their bladder.

Why is preterm PROM a reason to worry?

A concerned pregnant couple is at the OBGYN to get mom-to-be looked at for possible preterm PROM

Preterm PROM could prove to be a nuisance and a reason to worry amongst pregnant mothers.

If someone experiences their amniotic sac breaking before they’re ready to deliver, it could mean that the baby is likely to be born within a few days of the rupture.

Other risks include the development of a severe infection of the placental tissues called chorioamnionitis, which can be very dangerous for the mother and baby.

Placental abruption, the early detachment of the placenta from the uterus, is another complication that could arise.

Others include:

  • Compression of the umbilical cord
  • Cesarean birth
  • Postpartum infection (after delivery)

Diagnosing preterm PROM

It would be best to visit your doctor as soon as you suspect a leakage of amniotic fluid.

Your doctor will use various ways to determine that it is, in fact, the case and will then proceed to treat the issue on hand:

  • An examination of the cervix (fluid leaking from the cervical opening)
  • Testing of the pH (acid or alkaline) of the fluid
  • Looking at the dried fluid under a microscope
  • Ultrasound

Treating preterm PROM

Before your doctor determines how to treat the situation, they’ll base the solution on factors such as your pregnancy, overall health, and medical history.

A pregnant woman is at her OBGYN's office sharing her concerns about possible preterm PROM

They’ll also notice the extent of the condition you’re currently in, which means the frequency of the liquid leaking.

The doctor must know your current health conditions (if any) and the medications if you’re on any. They will test your tolerance for specific medicines, procedures, or therapies.

Finally, they’ll get to know your opinion or preferences about the whole issue.

The treatment can be of varied kinds and include the following options:

  • Hospitalization
  • Expectant management means the membranes may seal over, and the fluid may stop leaking without treatment, which happens in a few cases. It’s uncommon unless PROM was from a procedure such as an amniocentesis early in gestation.
  • Monitoring for signs of infection such as fever, pain, increased fetal heart rate, and/or laboratory tests
  • Give the mother medications called corticosteroids that may help mature the fetus’s lungs. Lung maturity is a major issue in premature babies, but corticosteroids may mask an infection in the uterus.
  • Antibiotics to prevent or treat infections
  • Tocolytics to stop preterm labor
  • Women with preterm rupture can deliver at 34 weeks if stable. But if there are signs of abruption, chorioamnionitis, or fetal compromise, then early delivery would be necessary.

Though there’re ways to treat the issue of preterm rupture of the membrane, there’re no preventive techniques yet.

It’s very prevalent in mothers who smoke during their pregnancy. So one way to actively prevent it is to stop smoking and not smoke during pregnancy.

FAQs

How long can you stay pregnant with ruptured membranes?

Most women will give birth within one week of experiencing a ruptured membrane.

Does amniotic fluid leak while lying down?

If your amniotic fluid starts to leak, it will be more consistent when lying down than when standing or sitting.

This happens because your baby’s head blocks the cervical opening and keeps the fluid trapped inside when you sit or stand. But as you lay down, the fluid can quickly trickle out as the head isn’t blocking the fluid anymore.

How long can a baby survive in the womb without amniotic fluid?

When the amniotic sac breaks earlier than expected, it can cause a risk of infection for both the mother and the baby.

So, you need to hurry to the doctor if you experience your amniotic fluid leaking within a few hours of it.

Can a leaking amniotic sac repair itself?

No. a leaking amniotic sac cannot repair itself. There’s a need for other cells, such as immune cells, to heal the wound in the amniotic sac.

Can amniotic fluid replace itself?

No. The amniotic fluid isn’t replaceable, nor can the amniotic sac be healed.

Once the sac is ruptured, you must rush to the doctor within a few hours of experiencing it or risk your and your baby’s health.

When should you go to the hospital if your amniotic fluid is leaking?

If your amniotic fluid starts to leak, you should seek immediate medical attention.

It would help if you also took notice of the following issues:

– Foul smelling, brown or green discharge from the vagina
– Fever
– The uterus feels tender
– Rapid heart rate
– A decrease or lack of increase in weight

If you experience these issues, there could be further signs of complications with the pregnancy or infections you don’t know about.

What is amnioinfusion?

When pregnant women have low amniotic fluid during labor, the health care provider might consider a procedure where saline is put into the uterus via a catheter placed through the cervix. This procedure is known as amnioinfusion.

It’s done during labor if the doctor detects a problem with the baby’s heart rate and is done under certain situations such as:

– Water breaking
– Placenta peeling away from the inner wall of the uterus before the baby is born.
– Certain health conditions like chronic high blood pressure or diabetes.
– Use of some medications, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
– Certain health conditions in the baby, such as restricted growth or a genetic disorder.

If you’ve low amniotic fluid during the pregnancy after completing 35 weeks, the safest option is to deliver.

In summary

Pregnant women might experience various fluid discharges during their pregnancy. Witnessing pee is common as control over the bladder is often lost during the last trimester.

Vaginal discharge will typically be smelly and appear milky in nature, and urine can be distinguished from the smell. But if you see neither, and the signs and symptoms all point to an amniotic sac leak, you should immediately visit your doctor.

This leak can also be harmful to the baby and the mother. You probably have a week before the baby is delivered.

Saumya Malik
I'm an ardent follower of everything good for the health and wellness of body and mind. I am passionate about providing effective solutions to general health and mental well-being issues and wants to help people achieve the same. When I'm not writing, you can find me curled up with a good book in a corner or cooking as a form of good mental therapy.
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