Top Questions

You’re pregnant and have been undoubtedly getting so many “answers” from your friends or mother, but haven’t really been able to get the answers to questions you’ve been wondering.

Below are 17 commonly asked questions that people have before and during pregnancy.

If you have a question, we’d love to be able to help you. Just ask your pregnancy related question over to the left of the website!

Why is taking folic acid so important?

Folic acid is a vitamin. Our bodies must have folic acid when they make new cells. The most important new cells during early pregnancy are the ones that make the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Women desiring a pregnancy should start taking 400 mcg to 1,000 mcg of folic acid every day for at least three months before conception. They should continue taking it for at least 12 weeks after conception.

Folic acid helps prevent some birth defects. It is especially helpful in preventing birth defects in the baby’s brain and spinal cord. Defects in this area are called neural tube defects. The most common one is called spina bifida. This defect happens during the first 28 days after conception. It is caused when the bony ring around the spinal cord does not completely close. The abnormal opening is called a spina bifida. This defect can be prevented if a woman’s folic acid levels are high on the day of conception. The opportunity for prevention is lost if folic acid is started after conception.

Folic acid is added to most breakfast cereals and grains. The amount in these foods is not high enough to fully protect a new conception from these serious birth defects. Extra folic acid helps prevent the defect in women who have had a previous baby with a neural tube defect. Her risk of having another baby with this defect decreases dramatically if she starts taking folic acid at least four weeks prior to conception.

Prescription prenatal vitamins contain 1,000 mcg of folic acid per tablet. Most over the counter pre- natal vitamins contain the recommended 400 mcg to 800 mcg of folic acid. Do not take extra prenatal vitamins if you want or need higher levels of folic acid. Taking more than one prenatal vitamin can cause high levels of fat-soluble vitamins or minerals. Too much of these can potentially harm a growing fetus. Separate over the counter folic acid tablets can be purchased at most pharmacies.

What are the benfits of getting a flu shot before or during my pregnancy?

Influenza or the “flu” is a serious infectious disease. It can cause heart, lung, and high fever complications. All of these may affect women and their unborn babies. ACOG recommends that all women who will be pregnant during flu season (October to May) get the “flu shot” or “influenza vaccine.”

Getting the vaccine during pregnancy protects your infant from getting the flu for about six months after he or she is born. This is especially important because newborns do not get flu shots until they are more than six months old. You may still breast-feed if you receive a flu shot.

Receiving your flu shot in October or November is best. If it is available, you can get it anytime during the flu season. It is given in the muscle of your upper arm. You may have some soreness at the injection site. A mild fever for about 12 hours is normal. Taking two acetaminophen tablets an hour before the injection may help lessen these symptoms. The flu shot starts working about two to four weeks after it is given. You may still get the flu if you are exposed during this waiting period. Hopefully it will not be quite as serious. The flu shot does not give you the flu.

The vaccine is safe at any stage of pregnancy. It is not a live virus. Most flu vaccine has a tiny amount of preservative called thimerosal in each dose. Thimerosal contains a small amount of mercury. Except for minor redness at the injection site, there is no evidence that this low dose of thimerosal causes any harm to a mother or her unborn baby.

Caution:

• If you are allergic to eggs or thimerosal or you became paralyzed after a previous flu shot, you should not get the vaccine.

• The flu vaccine that is sprayed in the nose should not be used during pregnancy. It contains a live virus.

How Do Dental Problems Affect A Pregnancy?

Having your teeth and gums checked every six months is ideal. Your teeth and gums should be in tip-top shape when you get pregnant. This helps avoid the risk of dental problems during your pregnancy. Dental emergencies may involve the use of x-rays, anesthesia or pain medicines. These may cause problems to your unborn baby. If possible have necessary dental work finished before you get pregnant.

Around 60% of women experience gum problems during their pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones increase the risk for gum swelling and gum infections. If you have gum problems before conception they will probably get worse. Gum problems vary from slight redness to severe swelling and bleeding. Establish good oral hygiene habits. Brush at least twice a day. Floss once a day. Use an anti- microbial mouthwash. These activities help decrease germs in your mouth.

There are toxins in the plaque and bacteria found in the gums of women with gum disease. These substances can potentially spread through a pregnant woman’s bloodstream to her unborn baby.

If this occurs, she is four to seven times more likely to deliver a premature baby. Those with severe gum problems run the risk of delivering their babies up to two months early.

During pregnancy about 10% of women get red lumps near their gum line. These lumps are known as pregnancy epulides. They can bleed or cause problems with eating or speaking. They happen when bits of food get stuck in the gums. They usually go away after delivery. Good brushing and flossing can reduce the chance of dealing with these uncomfortable lumps.

Important: Teeth whitening strips and teeth bleaching are not recommended during pregnancy.

What are the health benfits of taking omega-3 during pregnancy?

More and more people are becoming familiar with the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly in relation to pregnancy. Omega-3 fatty acids are the natural fats found in oily fish, seeds, nuts, and leafy green vegetables. They are known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Essential means they are necessary for a healthy body; they are often referred to as the “good fats.” For you to enjoy the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, you must either eat foods recommended for their omega-3 fatty acids or take an oral supplement. Your body does not naturally manufacture these types of fatty acids.

There are three types of omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need:

1. Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) – This is found mostly in cold-water fish (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and tuna), fish oil, algae, and specialty eggs.

2. Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) – Found in the same places as DHA.

3. Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA or LNA) – This is found mostly in flax seeds/oil, walnuts, and vegetables. The body converts ALA into EPA and DHA. It is easier for the body to use EPA and DHA.

Medical research suggests that taking omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy may have positive effects on your unborn baby. It is possible that omega-3 helps the development of:

• The baby’s brain

• The baby’s retinas

• The baby’s nervous system

It is important to realize that the possible beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids related to later fetal/ neonatal/infant brain ability have not been fully proven. However, nearly 50% of the brain and the nervous system are made from essential fatty acids. Half of them are DHA. The amount of DHA in an unborn baby’s brain rapidly increases during the last two months of pregnancy. During this time, it is estimated that 30-40mg of DHA accumulates in the baby’s brain each week.

There may also be benefits for the future mothers who take omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy. There is evidence that these compounds can help prevent preterm labor and delivery. Some researchers have found that women with lower amounts of omega-3 fatty acids have a higher risk of preterm labor. They also found that women who had previous preterm deliveries decreased their risk of having another early delivery if they took omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E during their subsequent pregnancies. These fatty acids may also lower the risk of postpartum depression.

Because of the small risk of cold-water fish containing mercury, many women do not eat the amount of seafood required to obtain the daily recommended levels of omega-3 fatty acids during pregnancy. For this reason, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or breast-feeding take a 300 mg supplement of DHA every day.

A quick Internet search will turn up many lists of food sources for naturally occurring omega-3 as well as commercially available supplements.

Why do I feel Tired and nauseated?

When the fertilized egg attaches (implants) inside the uterus, the placenta immediately starts growing. This tiny placenta starts making a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadatrophin (HCG). This hormone goes into your bloodstream and gradually increases. The level of hormone peaks by your 12th week. As the blood levels go up, most women experience nausea, vomiting, and overwhelming fatigue. The HCG hormone helps prevent a miscarriage. It also helps your baby’s growth and development. More HCG is made when carrying twins or triplets, often resulting in more nausea and additional symptoms.

It is interesting that a man’s body does not tolerate the HCG hormone. If this hormone were injected into a man’s bloodstream, he would probably become unconscious. Everyone, including you, should respect your fatigue.

What should I do if I get dehydrated during pregnancy?

Dehydration is common during pregnancy. It usually happens during the first 12 weeks when nausea and vomiting are the worst. Dehydration usually progresses slowly over a few days. The early symptoms are easily missed. You may become dehydrated if you continue having nausea and vomiting even when using medications.

Here are some symptoms of dehydration:

Urine

If your urine is dark yellow or orange and you notice you don’t pee very often (or hardly at all), you could be dehydrated. Your urine should be a light yellow color. You should pee at least once every two hours.

Headache

If you have a headache that gets worse during the day (especially when you move your head around) and you have dark or very little urine, you could be dehydrated.

Nausea and Vomiting

If your symptoms get worse over the course of the day and you have dark or very little urine, you could be dehydrated.


Fatigue

If you become more tired than usual and you have dark or very little urine, you could be dehydrated.

Dry Mouth and Skin

If you feel like you have no saliva, and/or if the skin on the back of your hand does not ease back to normal after pinching it up, you could be dehydrated.

Prevent dehydration stress to you and your baby by frequently drinking or sipping liquids. Drink a minimum of two to three liters of water per day. Sip small amounts of water or other non-caffeine liquids through a straw. Let ice chips melt in your mouth. Contact your provider or go to the emergency room if your dehydration symptoms do not go away. Dehydration treatments usually require the use of prescription medicines or the infusion of intravenous fluids.

Why do I fell stabbing pains in the right or left part of my lower Belly?

One of the most common complaints of early pregnancy is pain in the lower belly along the edge of the growing uterus. Many women visit the emergency room and find it is a normal part of pregnancy. These pains are sometimes called growing pains.

Gently push on your groin area just above where your leg attaches to your body. You probably feel a stabbing or sharp cramp-like pain. Usually one side is worse than the other. You may feel this same painful sensation when you reach for something, cough, or sneeze. For some women, it is a constant, irritating pain.

Why does it hurt? There are several ligaments supporting your uterus; they keep it from flopping around. The ligaments are like bungee cords. When you are not pregnant, the ligaments are about two inches long and are as thick as a pencil. By the end of pregnancy the ligaments stretch to about 24 inches and become as thin as a hair. A stretched ligament hurts! Even very early in the pregnancy most women feel this discomfort. The pain usually gets worse with every pregnancy. Some only notice it during their second or third pregnancy. They don’t remember the pain at all during their first pregnancy.

Help the pain by resting in positions that ease the stretching stress on your ligaments. It may be most comfortable sitting in a recliner with your knees slightly bent. An ice pack on the area helps with the inflammation associated with the stretching. As a last resort, take two Tylenol® tablets and rest in the most comfortable position possible.

Recognizing the difference between a normal pain (stretching ligament) and something more serious can be a challenge. You can reassure yourself that all is well by tuning into your body regularly.

ATTENTION: If you have other symptoms along with the pain such as fever, fast heart- beat, shortness of breath, diarrhea, constipation, vaginal bleeding/spotting, severe menstrual-like cramps, or other concerning symptoms, call your provider or go to an emergency room for evaluation.

Why Do I Have more headached during pregnancy?

Headaches are very common during pregnancy. Sometimes they are worse during the first 12 weeks. During this time, the hormones and the amount of blood in your body increase. Most headaches go away when your body gets used to the changes. A different kind of headache may start during the two months before delivery. These are usually caused by posture and stress. Some women get tension headaches during their pregnancies. These are caused by stress, fatigue, not sleeping enough, dehydration, hunger, or low blood sugar. If you stop drinking caffeine during your pregnancy, you may get headaches from caffeine withdrawal.

A migraine headache is different from a tension headache or a hormone headache. Migraine head- aches cause changes in the brain and in the blood vessels around the brain. These changes cause severe throbbing on one side of the head. Nausea and vomiting are also common with a migraine.

Some women get their first migraine during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Occasionally, women with a history of migraines notice they get fewer during their pregnancy. Some find their headaches become more frequent and intense. Everyone is different. Talk to your provider before taking migraine medications you may have used before you were pregnant.

Most headaches during pregnancy are harmless, but sometimes a headache may be a sign of a more serious problem. Talk to your provider if:

• You have a migraine for the first time during pregnancy.

• You have a headache that feels different from any you have ever had.

• You have the “worst” headache of your life.

The following ideas may help relieve or prevent headaches during pregnancy:

• Warm or cold compresses – If your headache is in the sinus area, put warm compresses on the front and sides of your face, around your nose, eyes and temples. For tension headaches, put cold compresses on the back of your neck.

• Reduce stress – Avoid stressful situations. Use relaxation exercises.

• Rest and exercise – Rest in a dark and quiet room. Balance enough sleep with daily exercise.

• Eat balanced meals – Eat small and frequent meals throughout the day. This helps keep your blood sugars from getting too low. Low blood sugar can cause headaches.

• Maintain good posture – This is most helpful during your last 10-12 weeks of pregnancy.

• Get a massage – Massage your temples, shoulders, and neck.

• Avoid headache triggers – Different foods or activities can cause headaches. Keep a diary and monitor the kinds of foods or activities that seem to increase your headaches. Migraine headaches can be caused by certain foods (chocolate, aged cheese, peanuts, and preserved meats).

Call your provider immediately if your headache:

• Comes on suddenly or includes severe pains that wake you up from sleep.

• Also includes a fever and stiff neck.

• Gradually gets worse and you have changes in your vision, slurred speech, drowsiness, or numbness in an arm or leg.

• Happens after falling or hitting your head.

What are fetal kick counts and why are they important?

From now on, your provider may ask you to check your baby’s movements every day. These checks are called Fetal Kick Counts or Baby Movement Counts. The mother takes a few minutes every day and counts her baby’s kicks, nudges, wiggles, or position changes. Taking this time is important. Ask your provider when you should start checking your baby’s movements.

An unborn baby spends his or her time awake (moving) or asleep (not moving). The amount of time awake or asleep varies in every baby. Most babies sleep more than they are awake. Some babies are awake and moving only two to three hours in a 24-hour time period. Others seem to move all the time. When the baby is awake it communicates with its mother by moving.

A baby should wake up and move when its mother eats something. After she eats, her baby should move a minimum of ten times in two hours. The movements let the mother know that the baby is doing well, that it is not under stress. When it moves enough the baby is saying, “I’m fine, I’m getting what I need.”

Fetal kick counts can be done several ways. Choose the way that works best for you.

Choice #1

Eat something. This should wake the baby. Lie on either side. Put your hand on your belly over the baby. When you count 10 move- ments you are done. The 10 movements should happen within two hours. Most women feel 10 movements in less than 30 minutes. Do this one time every day.

Choice #2

Decide when your baby is most active. Maybe at night or early morning. Follow the same procedure described above.

Things to remember about Fetal Kick or Movement Counts:

• A sleeping baby usually does not move.

• Most babies wake up and move when their mother eats or drinks something.

• Every baby’s movements are different.

• There is no official standard for baby movement other than 10 kicks in two hours.

• Be aware of your baby’s movements every day.

• Take the time to check movements every day.

• Make checking your baby’s movement part of your daily routine.

• If you smoke, do not smoke for two hours before checking movement counts. Most babies will not move for two hours after their mothers smoke.

If you notice a decrease in your baby’s movements (especially after 28 weeks) he or she may not be getting enough oxygen. Follow these guidelines if you think your baby is not moving enough:

1. Immediately eat or drink something. Especially something sweet.

2. Lie on your left side and feel for the baby’s movement for one hour.

3. If the baby does not move, contact your provider and/or go to your hospital’s labor and delivery area. You must be checked. You should be monitored with a fetal monitor. The monitor checks the baby’s heartbeat and movements. This helps decide if the baby is safe and is getting what it needs.

What is a preterm labor? What do I do if I have symptoms of preterm labor?

About one in eight babies in America is born premature as a result of untreated preterm labor. Knowing the difference between real labor and preterm labor is important for you and your baby.

• Labor – Regular contractions of a term uterus that causes the cervix to change. The word term refers to a pregnancy that has reached 37 weeks.

• Preterm Labor – Regular contractions of a preterm uterus that causes the cervix to change. The word preterm refers to a pregnancy before 37 weeks.

At this point in your pregnancy, if you have contractions of your uterus and your provider says your cervix is changing, you have preterm labor. Change means your cervix has started the dilating process. You cannot check your own cervix for dilation, but you can become an expert in recognizing preterm labor symptoms. These symptoms feel different for every woman. Sometimes preterm labor is subtle. Sometimes it is obvious. The most common signs are listed below. Any one of these could be preterm labor. You do not have to have them all.

Signs of Preterm Labor:

• Cramps or contraction pain in the uterus more than four times in one hour. It feels like the baby “balls up.” The uterus feels hard against your tummy skin.

• Menstrual-like cramps that come and go more than four times in one hour.

• A downward pressure in your pelvic area. It may feel like the baby is pushing itself out.

• A dull backache that comes and goes several times an hour. The sensation may move around to the front of your belly.

• Cramps in your belly with or without diarrhea.

• An achy feeling in your thighs that comes and goes several times an hour.

• A tingling electric shock-like feeling in your cervix or deep inside your vagina.

Things You Should Do:

If you feel any of these symptoms, stop what you are doing. Rest on your left side for one hour. During that hour drink one liter of water. Call your provider or go to the hospital if the symptoms do not go away. If you feel better and the symptoms go away, stay off your feet and rest for the remainder of that day. If the symptoms come back, go to the hospital.

Some preterm labor can be stopped or delayed. Go to the hospital sooner rather than later and check if your symptoms are actual preterm labor. Once the cervix dilates past a certain point, preterm labor cannot be stopped. In this situation, your risk of having a premature baby greatly increases.

Important: Talk to your provider about their specific guidelines for preterm labor.

What is gestational diabetes? Why is it such a concern?

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) happens when the woman’s pancreas does not work as well during pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones from the placenta stress the pancreas, making it nearly impossible to keep the mother’s blood sugars within the normal range. The pancreas goes into overdrive and makes more and more insulin. However, the extra insulin does not lower blood sugars like it should. This situation is called insulin resistance.

If the mother’s blood sugar levels are above the normal range, she and her baby may have complications.

Problems for the mother include:

• High blood pressure.

• Too much water around the baby.

• Trauma to the mother during delivery because her baby is too big.

• Increased risk for Cesarean-section delivery.

Problems for the baby include:

• Stillbirth.

• High birth weight.

• Low birth weight.

• Low blood sugar levels after delivery.

• Low blood calcium levels after delivery.

• Low blood magnesium levels after delivery.

• High bilirubin levels after delivery.

• Breathing problems after delivery.

Important: When a woman with GDM keeps her blood sugar levels within the normal range, the risk for complications goes way down. When blood sugars are under control, the risk for complications are the same as a woman without diabetes.

What is Group Beta Strep? What does it mean if I am Positive?

There is a common bacteria (germ) that lies dormant in nearly 30% of women’s vaginas and rectums. It is called Group Beta Strep (GBS) or “Beta Strep.” It is just one of many different types of normal bacteria found in these body parts. Most women have no symptoms and are unaware they have the bacteria in their bodies. It is not sexually transmitted.

Women who test positive for GBS are called carriers for the GBS germs. GBS is not considered an actual infection when it stays isolated in the vaginal or rectal areas. When confined to these two areas, it does not harm the mothers or their unborn babies. During their pregnancies, these women do not need antibiotics. If antibiotics are given, the GBS germs usually come back prior to the beginning of their labors. These women continue to be carriers for GBS.

The vaginal and rectal GBS germs do not usually cause health problems. However, during the labor and delivery experience, the babies of GBS positive mothers may come in contact with the germs hibernating in their mother’s vaginas or rectums. Although rare, some newborns get GBS infections from their mothers during the labor process. It may infect their lungs, spinal cords, or brains. Those who become infected have a 15% risk of dying. Newborns who become infected usually show symptoms during their first six hours of life.

Because of these possible dangers to newborn babies, the following testing guidelines are recommended:

• All women should be tested for the GBS bacteria between their 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy.

• The vagina and rectum should be cultured using one or two sterile swabs.

• If a woman tests positive for GBS, antibiotics should be given during her labor. This temporarily kills the germs, and decreases her risk of passing a GBS infection to the newborn baby.

• If a woman had an actual GBS infection during her pregnancy (this most commonly shows up as a GBS urine infection), antibiotics should be given during her labor. The vaginal/rectal swab test is not needed.

• If a woman had a previous baby who had a GBS infection shortly after birth, antibiotics should be given during her labor. The vaginal/rectal swab test is not needed.

If you test positive for GBS, you should receive an intravenous (IV) dose of antibiotics as soon as possible after your labor starts. Four hours after this dose, your risk of passing the GBS germs to your baby significantly decreases. A second “booster” dose of antibiotics is usually given four to six hours after the first dose. If you get a fever during your labor or your newborn looks sick after birth, extra blood tests may be ordered. These will determine whether your baby became infected with GBS and if he or she needs antibiotics.

Important: GBS infections are usually treated with penicillin-based antibiotics. If you are highly allergic to penicillin, your GBS specimen swab should have susceptibility testing performed at the laboratory. It should be labeled “patient allergic to penicillin.”This extra step finds a non-penicillin type of antibiotic that kills the GBS germs.

Do not confuse Beta Strep germs with Alpha Strep germs. The Alpha Strep germs cause strep throat.

What causes high blood pressue during pregnancy? What problems can it cause for the baby or me?

Between five and eight percent of women get high blood pressure during their pregnancies. The medical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. High blood pressure during pregnancy has several names: it is known as Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension (PIH), gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia, or toxemia. The actual cause of this type of high blood pressure is not known.

It shows up more often in those women who are:

• Under age 20 or over age 40.

• Carrying twins or triplets.

It is also more common in women who have:

• Chronic high blood pressure – High blood pressure before becoming pregnant.

• A history of high blood pressure during a previous pregnancy.

• Diabetes – Either preexisting or gestational diabetes.

• Kidney disease.
The most common symptoms of Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension are:

• Blood pressure above 140/90 – After taking it several times.

• Too much protein in the urine – Sometimes urine is collected over a 24-hour period of time.

• Significant swelling – Hands, feet, legs, face, or lower back.

• Sudden increase in weight over a 24- to 48-hour period of time.

• Change in vision – blurry or double vision.

•Nausea or vomiting.

• Urinating less than the normal amount.

• Pain in the liver – It feels like heartburn in the area under the right breast.

• A blood test that shows stress in the liver or kidneys.

Important: If you have any of the above symptoms, tell your provider immediately. Do not wait until your next prenatal appointment.

What is "Real Labor" compared with "early labor" or "false labor"?

After 37 weeks, most women start feeling tightening sensations in their bellies. These feelings are known as early or false labor contractions, and they vary in intensity, with some hurting more than others. At first, they may feel like menstrual or stomach/intestinal cramps. When the contractions start happening more frequently, you may be worried that you won’t notice when early labor changes to real labor. These guidelines may help you determine the difference.
Contractions

Is there a regular pattern?

Time your contractions from the start of one to the start of the next one. Are they getting stronger and closer together? If the contraction pains come in a regular pattern and they are about five minutes apart for at least one hour, it is probably real labor. If the contraction pains come in an irregular pattern, it is probably false labor.

How long do the contractions last?

Time the length of each contraction. Count the number of seconds from when the pain starts to when it goes away. Real labor contraction pains typically last between 30-75 seconds. Early labor contraction pains usually last from 10 to 45 seconds.

How painful are they?

Have the uncomfortable feelings changed to more intense pains? Does the pain take your breath away? Does it feel like you can’t walk or talk? If every contraction pain is this intense, it is probably real labor. If the contractions vary in length and strength, and you can walk and talk through the pains, it is probably false labor.
Can
you
stop
the
contractions?

Real labor contractions cannot be stopped. They usually get more intense when you walk or do any other activities. False labor contractions usually stop or slow down when you stay active.
Where
are
the
contractions
located?

Real labor contractions usually start in the upper belly at the top of the uterus. The pain progresses in a twisting motion to the entire belly and lower back. If the contractions are mostly in the lower belly area, it is probably false labor. Some women feel increased pressure in their vaginas with real labor.

If your contractions are spaced three to five minutes apart for one hour, call your provider or go to the hospital. Call for advice if you are not sure your pains are real labor or false labor. The nurses who work in the hospital’s labor and delivery area are good resources for labor advice. Having a nurse check you and your baby for a real labor takes about an hour at the hospital and may help ease your worries. Tell the nurses if you think your bag of water may have broken so they can check for this during your exam. You are probably in real labor if your cervix has dilated more than four centimeters and you are having regular strong contractions.

How will I know if my bag of water breaks?



Your baby lives in a balloon-like sack filled with water. If the balloon breaks, you usually feel a gush of warm liquid. If the balloon has a tiny pinhole “leak,” you may not know it has broken. A broken bag or a leaking bag can happen at any point during pregnancy.

Call your provider or go to the hospital if:

You feel a gush of liquid
You feel “wetter” than usual coming from your vagina in your vaginal area

At the hospital or provider’s office, a special test can confirm whether your water has or has not broken. Checking the liquid for certain characteristics is easy and fast.

This simple home check may help you determine the difference between your water breaking and urine leaking:

Empty your bladder and put a folded washcloth in your crotch area (don’t use a sanitary pad as they are made to wick moisture away from the surface). If the cloth gets wet in a few minutes, your water may have broken. If the cloth smells like urine, you may have leaked urine. Call your provider or go to the hospital if you cannot tell what has happened.

The bag of water breaking experience is different for all women. Some feel a gush of warm liquid while others only feel a trickle. The liquid varies in color. Most liquid is a clear yellowish color. Sometimes it has flecks of white floating in it. Some say it has a unique “earthy” kind of a smell to it. Occasionally the liquid has a greenish color. The green color usually means the unborn baby has had a bowel move- ment inside and it has stained the water that color.