During pregnancy, many women experience at least some degree of urinary incontinence, which is the involuntary loss of urine. The incontinence may be mild and infrequent for some pregnant women, but it can be more severe for others. The kind of incontinence experienced during pregnancy is usually Stress Incontinence (SI), which is the loss of urine caused by increased pressure on the bladder. 30-40 % of women experience some degree of urinary leakage during pregnancy. In clinical studies, these numbers increased with gestational age. The prevalence of urinary incontinence before, during and after pregnancy is 3.6%, 40%, and 14.6%, respectively1.
This makes urinary incontinence a frequent, yet common side-effect of pregnancy. Therefore, urine can be mistaken for amniotic fluid (water breaking). In addition to this, the levels of vaginal discharge increase greatly in pregnancy, which can also be mistaken for amniotic fluid. This can result in a lot of uncertainty when experienced and may lead to unnecessary hospital visits due to “suspected rupture of membranes” or “thinking the water broke”.
What is this Amniotic fluid (water)?
Amniotic fluid plays a very important role in supporting the foetus during pregnancy. The mother’s body produces amniotic fluid as soon as 2 weeks after conception. As the pregnancy progresses, the amniotic fluid helps the baby move around inside the womb, and thus, supports the development of the baby. The most important role of the amniotic fluid is to protect the baby against physical shocks from outside. It also helps the foetus to move around in the womb, consequently, allowing the foetus to develop his muscles. Maintaining a constant temperature – The amniotic fluid is typically 1 degree Celsius higher than the mother’s body temperature. This helps the foetus to maintain his body temperature.
Amniotic Fluid Leak Complications (PROM – Pre labor rupture of membranes):
PROM is defined as the rupture of membranes (amniotic sac) and leakage of amniotic fluid before labor begins. This can happen after 37 weeks of gestation. If the rupture of membranes happens prior to 37 weeks of gestation, the condition is termed PPROM (preterm premature rupture of membranes)2. It is important to be able to identify PROM as sometimes it is a gush of water that comes out and sometimes it is not very obvious, thus it can easily be mistaken for stress incontinence. Diagnosing PROM is very important for proper management of the pregnancy and delayed diagnosis could lead to complications for both mother and baby like an infection developing or pre-term birth. Diagnosis facilitates the commencement of appropriate therapy and could lead to reduction in complications. Diagnosis of PROM can be difficult if:
- The fluid leak is low
- There is spotting
- When the classic “gush of fluid” does not occur.
The question becomes, how do I know if my water has broken or if its urine?
The AMNIOPADTM is a self test kit used to test for leakage of amniotic fluid (water breaking) during pregnancy. The test comes in the form of a panty liner; it’s highly effective, easy to use, results are easy to interpret, and is the only test available in South Africa that can be used at home. This easy-to-use home test kit allows you to detect probable leakage of amniotic fluid whenever you encounter unidentified wetness, or among women with a history of premature membrane rupture. AMNIOPADTM panty liner changes colour when it comes into contact with fluid of pH levels greater than or equal to 6.5. Amniotic fluid pH levels are greater than 6.5.
HOW TO USE:
Simply attach the special AMNIOPADTM panty liner to your underwear and get on with your day. When you feel a fluid leak, check for a colour change on the yellow background. The pad colour change can be partial or complete (any intensity, shape, size or location). Note: a colour change appears within 10 minutes following a fluid leak. If there is a colour change to blue or green, amniotic fluid may be leaking from your uterus, or you may have a vaginal infection. You should consult your physician or go to the hospital without delay. If the panty liner remains yellow or turns yellow after 10 minutes, the fluid leak is probably urine, which is common during pregnancy. If you continue to experience vaginal wetness, apply a new panty liner and repeat the test.
Any minimal amount of amniotic fluid leakage which can be sensed as wetness by the user will create a visible blue or green stain. For further diagnosis and medical care, report the results to your physician. AMNIOPADTM panty liners are recommended for screening either high-risk or normal pregnancies. Leaking amniotic fluid increases the risk of infection to both mother and foetus and early detection can help to:
- Prevent complications or premature birth.
- Identify a possible membrane rupture, especially after amniocentesis.
- Confirm that your water has broken so that you arrive at the hospital in time for a safe delivery.
This product is intended to detect leaking amniotic fluid and identify the cause of wetness during pregnancy. For further diagnosis and medical care, report or show test results to your physician.
READING YOUR RESULTS: 10 minutes after removal, look for a colour change on the panty liner.
The AMNIOPADTM offers you peace of mind when uncertain about when it is time to seek medical attention. Taking the test in the comfort of your home will help you know if the wetness experienced is due to amniotic fluid leaking or urine which is common during pregnancy. The AMNIOPADTM is also avail in UK, USA, NZ and Australia.
For more information about how to buy the AMNIOPADTM, visit:
Tel: 011 589 9089
- Sangsawang B, Sangsawang n. Stress urinary incontinence in pregnant women: a review of prevalence, pathophysiology, and treatment. Int Urogyneocol J. 2013 Jun;24(6):901-12.
- Source: James Alexander et al, Seminars in Perinatology, Vol 20, No 5, 1996: pp 369-374; Mercer et al, Am J Obstet Gynecol, 1999
- Amniopad Package Insert