About 80-90% of pregnant women have a real and constant fear that their amniotic sac will rupture or their water will break while they are out in public. While this fear is not unfounded, it is very rare for this to happen.
Medical research has shown that the amniotic sac does not rupture until the woman is dilated to about 9 cm and is well into labour. In order to avoid confusion and unnecessary panic, here are some of the signs that can tell you if your water has broken.
Signs Of Water Breaking
A Wet Panty
A wet panty is one of the sure shot signs of the water breaking. If you feel that the panty is too wet and it does not smell of urine, then it is most likely a sign of your amniotic sac rupturing. This also depends on what week of pregnancy you are in. If you are about to go into labour then this is probably nature’s way of indicating the onset of labour.
The Discharge In The Panty
If the discharge in the panty is clear and stringy, the it is probably some of your cervical mucus or vaginal discharge, which tends to increase a lot during pregnancy. If the fluid tends to accumulate in the panty or the panty liner, then it could be amniotic fluid.
The Colour Of The Fluid
Urine is definitely darker and has a typical smell whereas amniotic fluid is clear and straw coloured and it has virtually no odour so one good way of trying to find out is to smell the panty liner.
Call Your Doctor
If you suspect that you are in labour, play it safe by calling your doctor or midwife who will do a thorough internal exam to check whether the sac has ruptured and whether you are dilating.
The Litmus Test
One way of ascertaining whether the leaking fluid is amniotic fluid is to do the litmus test. In this, the doctor places some of the fluid from the vagina on litmus paper. If the litmus paper changes colour, then it is most likely to be amniotic fluid. If the paper does not react, then it is probably just urine.
Another way of checking whether the fluid is amniotic fluid is to look it under the microscope. A slide of amniotic fluid often shows a ferning pattern under the microscope, so if the pattern is not ferning, then it is not amniotic fluid.
Some women experience a characteristic gush of water from their vagina and they complain of their panty getting thoroughly wet. Others tend to feel a constant uncontrollable trickle that refuses to stop. This is in all probability amniotic fluid.
Leaking Amniotic Fluid
Once your amniotic sac has ruptured, labour should commence soon after i.e. within 24 hours. Once the amniotic fluid has leaked, you and your baby are exposed to germs and infections, which can leave you very vulnerable. In such cases, it is better to wait and watch to see signs of labour or to induce labour as deemed fit.