When your water breaks, does it have a scent? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just wondering if it smells like *anything*. Because I've been noticing a different scent lately (sorry TMI )... I wondered if that could be it. It's quite possibly just my body being weird, though.

It's not bad or anything. Just different than normal, I think.

Also, yesterday... it looked like I had more discharge than normal, and scent could have been considered "sweet", but I'm not entirely sure.

Is there anything I can do it find out if this is actually my water that broke, without needing to go to the hospital? Because its really likely that this is nothing. The only thing unusual is that it's a scent I don't really recognise...

I just don't know. :
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#2 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:07 PM
 
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mine did not have a scent at all and was clear. I gushed on & off for hours.

I did notice a smell about myself though for about a week before it broke/ds was born. I can't describe it exactly though. kind of like an earthy smell and even showering did not get rid of it.

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#3 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:36 PM
 
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Mine was clear, and did have a very mild smell: "sweet" and "sweat" do both come to mind, though it has been a while now...

I know there are little strips you can get that will tell you if a fluid is amniotic or not. Some midwives give them out at times like these, but I don't know if they're available at drugstores or anything... wish I knew what they were called!
Someone will... anyone?

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#4 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:45 PM
 
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You can use pH paper to test the fluid on a pad, but they are not 100% reliable. If it is amniotic fluid it will usually be enough to soak underwear through to pants, with a trickle running down the leg -- many times through out the day. SOmetimes gushes of 'water' are actually urine, or retained bathwater, or semen, or just lots of discharge. They may just happen once and not again in the day.

If you see vernix or baby hairs in it, it's amniotic fluid. It does have a distinct smell, but it is too hard to describe accurately beyond 'earthy' and 'clean'-- there is no ammonia smell like urine when it is dry.

If you had a microscope you could take some of the fluid on a slide and see if it ferns like frost on a window. You don't need really high magnification. Saying that, even little gushes *can* be amniotic fluid and you may want to contact your care provider (if you have one).

Hope that helps. If you are really suspicious that your water bag may have broken, until you are sure, remember to keep things out of your vagina and if you develop a fever, be seen right away.

Carolynn
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#5 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:45 PM
 
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Oh, and pH paper is also called nitrazine paper.

Carolynn
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#6 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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See, that's what I'm hoping for. Some kind of strip that I can use to test it!

My midwife is kind of far away... her office is, like... a half hour from here. And, I really don't want to tell her that I wonder if my water has broken, because there's a really good chance that it hasn't. If I could just test it myself, I'd feel so much better.

I know I've never seen anything like this at a drugstore. Maybe a health food store, though (if it's big enough)? I have no idea, but if ANYONE knows... that would be wonderful.
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#7 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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CarolynnMarilynn -- Oh, we posted at the same time...

I have heard that sometimes one's water can break, and is mistaken for extra discharge. That would be the case with me, if it's my water. It actually wasn't wetness that even made me wonder -- it was the scent. It just seemed different. But considering that, I don't really want to go to the doctor for it, since it's very likely nothing. I'd just like to check out myself, if possible.

With using the pH paper... how will I tell if it's amniotic fluid rather than discharge. Also... where can I find pH paper?
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#8 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 02:11 PM
 
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If it is amniotic fluid it will usually be enough to soak underwear through to pants, with a trickle running down the leg -- many times through out the day.
This is not always the case. I had a very slow leak at 32 weeks w/dd. I was sure it was urine b/c it was such a small amt. I went into the doc b/c I figured if I had a UTI I wanted to take care of it before the weekend (this was a friday). They wanted to test for amniotic fluid. I thought they were nuts. It was fluid and I was hospitalized for 3 1/2 weeks until dd was born b/c of risk of infection.

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#9 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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See, that's my problem. There is only a little bit... it just seems like it could be excessive discharge, which I know is common during pregnancy. As I mentioned -- it was really the scent that even caused me to wonder at all. It was different enough that I actually commented on it to my BF... it just seems strange to me. Eventually I wondered if amniotic fluid had a scent, because I don't know what else would smell differently...

Some people mentioned that it can smell like vanilla cookies... :LOL ... and strangely enough, maybe this does! I just can't tell for sure.... it's driving me crazy. Either way, though -- the scent isn't bad, or even harsh. I KNOW it's not pee.
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#10 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 03:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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p.s.! If I try to do the pH test -- I don't really have enough fluid to test. If I were to just test it on whatever fluid I can get, it might be fixed with other body fluids (such as discharge). Do you think that would effect the test?

I hope that made sense. :\
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#11 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 06:49 PM
 
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It was really watery, and no real scent, that I remember. Maybe a slight sweet-sweat smell. Personally, I would go in and get it checked. If the litmus test doesn't work, they can get some of the fluid and look at it under a microscope to see if it 'ferns'. That's another way to tell if it's amniotic fluid.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#12 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 07:08 PM
 
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When I had to test taken with the strip about 20 minutes after my water had broken. (No doubt it had broken, it gushed and there was mec in it) I had to stick it into my vagina and that paper turned from blue to black.
If you are leaking just a little bit, then I would assume part of the strip would turn.


HTH
Katie
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#13 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 07:16 PM
 
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Hi. I thought that amniotic fluid sort of smelled like bleach. You can have a small leak, or have a small pocket of fluid break that doesn't interupt the bigger bag. This happened to me when I was pg with dd #2. That's how they explained it to me when I went in L&D.

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#14 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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How would they get a sample to test, if I'm not actively leaking fluid?

I've tried to decide what this smells like so much that I jus can't tell at all anymore. I'm driving myself crazy. I'd rather just forget about it, except I don't want to take a chance. I just hate to go in when it's really likely nothing.

This sucks.
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#15 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 08:45 PM
 
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mine leaked for weeks with my last baby----and it smelled bleachy, but in a good way best wishes to you!

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#16 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 09:07 PM
 
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If it's a very vague smell, I would go in. Sometimes, they can visually see a bit leaking. What they did for me was to use a small syringe to collect a bit of the fluid. Is it better to go in and have it be nothing or not go in and have it be something? Only you can answer that question for yourself.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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#17 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would be devastated if something happened to baby because I didn't go in when I should have.

So, do you think I could / should just go in to L&D, and explain what's going on, or should I call my midwife first and ask her?
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#18 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 10:04 PM
 
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DO NOT go into labor and delivery.

I am not sure of what you are desiring for your birth BUT...if you go in with broken waters, then you are on the clock. Most hospitals have a labor curve which starts when you go in. If you do not dialate and efface on schedule, you will get some pitocin. ANd let me tell you, that stuff was made by a freakin sado-masochist.

My second labor was helped along with some pitocin. It was HELL!! The only reason I did not cave and have every pain relieving drug available was my midwife who basically told me that I was NOT getting them. (she is a friend and knows me well).

DO NOT let your first birth experience be micromanaged by a labor curve. You do not want to be induced. It will only lead to other complications.

My advice is for you to call your midwife and tell her what is going on.

I had a LOT of discharge and it was thin a few weeks before I went into labor with both of mine. When my water broke with my son, it was obvious. Call your MW, tell her what you want. She can get out a microscope and look at the fluid under the scope to see if it ferns. If it ferns, then it is amniotic fluid.

These last weeks are torturous waiting for that little bundle. Enjoy the anticipation, your life will never be the same after you give birth.
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#19 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 11:01 PM
 
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You might be able the get the ph paper at a pool supply store. We only ever had the dropper kits for our pool, but I imagine they sell the papers, too. Otherwise, maybe a hobby store or something where you would expect to find science supplies, chemistry kits, stuff like that.
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#20 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 11:06 PM
 
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Shelbean91, yes, you are right, it is sometimes a small leak that happens once only. But *usually* it is not -- it keeps going. That was what I was saying in my post.

if your care provider did a sterile speculum exam, sometimes you can see fluid leaking from the cervix, which is proof that it is amniotic fluid. It is not always easy to tell -- ferning is the most certain sign.

What the research says about rupture of membranes before labour is that most women at term will go into labour by 24 hours post-ROM. By 48 hours, 90% will have gone into labout, and by 72 hours 95% will go into labour on their own. There is no increased risk to the baby of waiting for labour, but there is a small increased risk of developing a uterine infection (a risk to the mom). Often the first sign of an endometrial infection is fever, pain, or no symptom at all. No vaginal exams, and nothing in your vagina (like fingers, a penis, whatever) can reduce your risk of infection.

If you are GBS positive then a long rupture of membranes increases the small chance that a baby can develop GBS disease.

If you have lost a significant amount of amniotic fluid, baby can tolerate labour less well due to possible cord compression without a good amount of fluid cushioning the cord. An US can measure pockets of fluid, but isn't totally accurate. She may offer you a biophysical profile if the ROM is confirmed.

I would contact your caregiver and discuss it, even if you plan to turn down interventions. It is good to know your options and have someone to check in with.

Anyway, hope this helps.

Carolynn
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#21 of 22 Old 12-11-2004, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I called my midwife. I described what was going on, and she really didn't seem concerned at all. I mentioned the possibility of a slow leak of amniotic fluid, and she said that while it isn't too likely that that is what it is, I can move my appointment up to Monday morning, and she'll test it for me.

Chances are, it's nothing. *shrug*

That's good, though.. since baby should cook a bit longer. o.o ... Still, I hope she's coming soon.

I'll update this, if it turns out that it IS amniotic fluid.
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#22 of 22 Old 12-13-2004, 04:45 PM
 
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OK so I know EXACTLY what you are talking about, I have the same questions. Yesterday afternoon I'm sitting on the couch and felt this slight rush of fluid - and it had a distinct scent, I would describe it as sweet. It was definetly NOT urine. It did remind me of how it felt when my water broke with my youngest DS - and I was sure that when I stood up the leaking would continue (like with DS it didn't stop - keep flowing out of me for a long time). It didn't though. It was enough fluid to soak through my underwear but it didn't continue. So I've been taking a wait and see approach to see if I get another leak like that and if so I will call my OB. Still, it is a little nervewracking.

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