Pregnancy Issues

What is the Difference between Amniotic Fluid and Leukorrhea

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"What is the Difference between Amniotic Fluid and Leukorrhea"
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Comparing amniotic fluid and leucorrhea is kind of like comparing apples and oranges. Other than the fact that they are both secreted from your vagina, they don't have much in common.

Leucorrhea may sound scary and very scientific, but it's really just a fancy word for vaginal discharge. When you become pregnant you are going to observe your body undergoing a great deal of changes. One of the first is a change in your normal vaginal discharge. During pregnancy, your discharge will be a thin, milky white, mildly odorous substance. This substance, called leucorrhea, is completely normal and no cause for concern. You needn't consult your health care provider about your discharge unless it becomes strong smelling and green or yellow in color or if your vaginal area becomes red, itchy and irritated. These could be signs of a yeast infection or an STD.

Amniotic fluid, on the other hand, is very different. Leaking amniotic fluid is a cause for concern as it is a crucial part of the system that supports and protects your developing child. Your body starts to produce amniotic fluid shortly after the amniotic sac is formed, within just two weeks of conception. The amniotic sac is what your baby will call home for the next eight and a half months.

This fluid starts as water provided by the mother and eventually becomes mostly fetal urine at about twenty weeks. During the first trimester, the main function of the amniotic fluid is to help the growing baby move about within the womb. The fetus literally "swims" in the fluid, which helps to build muscle. During the second trimester, the baby will actually begin to breathe and swallow the amniotic fluid to help their tiny lungs grow and mature.

At its peak, around week 35, an entire liter of amniotic fluid should be present. This fluid is what people are talking about when they say "my water broke". The sac that has functioned to protect the baby ruptures and the water rushes out. Until the impending birth, the umbilical cord now becomes your baby's sole means of support.

However, the amniotic sac can sometimes rupture or start to leak before you go into labor. It can occur as a sudden rush of fluid or a slow and constant trickle of liquid. You will not mistake amniotic fluid for vaginal discharge. In fact, you are more likely to mistake it for urine. Your uterus, which is currently home to your little bundle of joy, rests directly on top of your bladder, which can cause a pregnant woman to leak urine. In this case, it can be difficult to distinguish between urine and amniotic fluid.

One way to figure out whether you are indeed leaking amniotic fluid is by scent. Amniotic fluid is a clear and odorless substance, whereas urine, as we all know, can have a distinctive scent and typically at least a hint of color. If the liquid does not appear to be urine, it is important that you contact your physician. Until your health care provider can meet with you, do not engage in sexual intercourse or use tampons. Avoid anything that might cause bacteria to enter your vaginal canal. Fluid that does not appear to be urine or amniotic fluid, such as a substance that is green or smelly is a cause for concern as this could be a sign of infection.

More about this author: Amber Hilton

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