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How can I tell if my bag of water is leaking?
Q: I am 35 weeks pregnant and have a constant dampness in my underwear. How do I know if my bag is leaking or this is just a discharge?
Monique Covington, Ky.
A: We expect a pregnant woman to have a discharge late in pregnancy. It’s typically cream-coloured but can also be yellow or clear. It’s usually thick but can also be watery. Women often use mini pads in the last months of pregnancy because of it.

The amniotic sac breaks in nearly 20 percent of cases before the onset of labor. Some women descote it as a big gush of clear fluid or a trickle of fluid running down their legs. The fluid can mix with blood and look red. If the fluid is greenish, an immediate call to the doctor is warranted. In any case, a liquid discharge requires a call to the doctor.

I often get calls from patients who notice dampness. This isn’t a sign of the bag breaking. Women also complain of fluid discharge when they stand. This could be a collection of vaginal secretions being released or the bladder leaking urine. However, if there’s a persistent leaking of fluid thereafter, call your doctor. And if there’s ever any doubt, make the call.
Craig L. Bissinger M.D.