If your panties get wet during pregnancy it may indicate increased intimate lubrication, involuntary loss of urine, or loss of amniotic fluid, and so it is important you know how to identify each of these situations, so it is important you take note of the color and smell of the fluids in your panties.
However, when you suspect you may be losing amniotic fluid in the 1st or 2nd trimester, it is recommended you go immediately to the emergency room or to your obstetrician because if you are losing fluid this can jeopardize the development and growth of the baby.
How to know if I'm losing amniotic fluid
In most cases, the loss of amniotic fluid is mistaken for the involuntary loss of urine that happens due to the weight of the uterus on the bladder.
A good way to know if you are losing amniotic fluid, losing urine or if it is just an increase in vaginal secretions responsible for lubrication is to put an intimate absorbent in your panties and observe the characteristics of the liquid. Usually urine is yellowish and smells while amniotic fluid is clear and odorless and intimate lubrication is odorless but can have an egg white appearance, as it does in your fertile period.
The main symptoms and signs of amniotic fluid loss include:
- Wet panties, but the liquid has no smell or color;
- Your panties get wet more than once a day;
- Decreased baby's movements in the uterus, when there has been a greater loss of fluid.
Pregnant women with risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes or lupus are more likely to have loss of amniotic fluid, but this can happen to any pregnant woman.
What to do if you are losing amniotic fluid
The treatment for amniotic fluid loss varies according to your gestational stage:
In the 1st and 2nd trimester:
Medical help should be sought immediately but treatment is usually done with weekly visits to the obstetrician to assess the amount of fluid throughout the pregnancy. When the doctor does an ultrasound and discovers that the liquid is very low it can be recommended you increase water intake and to rest so you can avoid the loss of more liquid.
If there are no signs of infection or bleeding associated with fluid loss, a woman's follow-up can be done periodically on an outpatient basis, where the health team checks the your body temperature and performs a blood count to check for signs of infection or of labor. In addition, tests are done to see if everything is okay with the baby, such as listening to the baby's heartbeat and fetal biometrics. Therefore, it is possible to verify if the pregnancy is going well, despite the loss of amniotic fluid.
In the 3rd trimester:
When fluid loss happens late in pregnancy, this is usually not serious, but if the woman is losing too much fluid the doctor may choose to anticipate delivery. If this loss occurs after 36 weeks, it is usually a sign of membrane rupture and therefore you should go to the hospital because the time to delivery may be near.
What can cause loss of amniotic fluid
The causes for amniotic fluid loss are not always known. However, this can happen due to genital infections, and it is therefore recommended you see an obstetrician whenever symptoms arise such as burning while urinating, genital pain or redness, for example.
Other causes that may lead to loss of amniotic fluid or lead to a reduction in its amount include:
- Partial sac rupture - the amniotic fluid begins leaking because there is a small hole in the sac. It is more frequent at the end of the pregnancy and normally the opening closes by itself if you rest and maintain yourself well hydrated;
- Placental problems - the placenta may not be producing enough blood and nutrients for the baby and so he does not produce as much urine, leading to less amniotic fluid;
- Medications for high blood pressure, premature labor and ibuprofen affect the baby's kidneys by decreasing the amount of amniotic fluid;
- Baby anomalies - At the beginning of the second trimester, the baby begins swallowing the amniotic fluid and eliminating it through the urine. When there is loss of amniotic fluid, the baby's kidneys may not develop properly;
- Fetus-fetal transfusion syndrome - In the case of identical twins, one can receive more blood and nutrients than the other, causing one to have less amniotic fluid than the other.
In addition, some medications, such as ibuprofen or high blood pressure medication, may also decrease the production of amniotic fluid, so pregnant women should ask their obstetrician their opinion before taking any type of medication.