How Can You Tell If It's Amniotic Fluid or Urine?

Updated on August 05, 2012
K.H. asks from Fernley, NV
9 answers

I'm a little over 39 weeks pregnant. Been having contractions since last night that don't go anywhere-haven't increased in frequency or pain. Anyway I woke up from my nap 8 hours thinking I had an "oops" and might have wet myself a bit(embarassing!). I took a shower but since then I have been very damp down there but I thought I was just sweating since the ac isn't working. However everytime I stood up I felt more fluid(again I thought it was urine) kinda running down a bit but I never could tell exactly where it's coming from. I was just laying on my back when I felt a teeny bit more running down from somwhere between the cheeks. It doesn't smell like urine-it smells like nothing and has a very faint yellowish color. I just called my doc and am waiting for him to call back but I REALLY don't want to drive almost an hour into L and D-especially since I have no car as hubby is out of town(figures). How can you tell what it is? What does amniotic fluid look like and smell like? Is it normal to possibly leak a tiny bit all day with no contractions? Is it ok do you think to wait until 8 or so tomorrow morning to go get checked? Thanks in Advance!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers


answers from Seattle on

My amniotic fluid began before my contractions had yet begun, and it came as a slow leak.

At first I also thought I either a.) might be imagining it or b.) was confusing vaginal discharge, urine, or sweat for my waters.

Here's how I could tell: the sensation of the liquid coming out, was focused in and from my vagina, very similar to the feel of a heavy menstrual flow. Try standing up, without undergarments. When you feel a release of warmth or wet, where does it feel like it's coming from?

What I mean, is try to quiet yourself and your body and really feel where and what is going on. A lot of times, while our mind can't figure it out, our body knows.

I remember the smell being very mild and simply smelling of body. Does that make sense? Not an acidic or pee smell, just a sort of warm body smell. It's not very viscous, and is translucent, but perhaps a bit more slippery and substantial than urine?

Good luck sweet lady and congratulations in advance!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

It does sound like you "could" be leaking amniotic fluid. It doesn't smell like urine. It would be like a pale straw color and be nearly odorless.

I hope you went and had a labor check even if it turns out to have been your plug and the fluid build-up behind the plug leaking and not amniotic fluid.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I think you are leaking and that is not good - I hope no update b/c your doc called back and said get to hospital.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

This happened to me as well at midnight, it turns out my water had broken. It was warm, a tad thicker than urine and didn't have a strong smell at all. If your Dr doesn't call, then call the hospital maternity floor and ask. If it is a slight greenish in color than it is amniotic fluid with meconium... which means baby has pooped in the amniotic fluid and is likely in fetal distress... so you need to go to the Dr now. Lie down on your side, the baby's head won't be blocking the opening and if it is still leaking that is likely amniotic fluid. Here is a good test to tell what that fluid is:

"The easiest thing to do to tell if it is your water or urine is to put on clean, dry underwear and a pad or panty liner. Then you'll want to lay down for about a half of an hour. If the fluid is amniotic fluid, it will pool or gather in the vagina while you lay down.

During this half an hour, spend time gathering your thoughts. Are you packed and ready for the trip to the hospital? Do you need to call anyone like your husband or doula? Try to do a fetal kick count or make note of your baby's movements as well. You can also use the time to take a quick nap.

At the end of the time, simply get up and go back to the bathroom. Here is where we checked to see if the pad is wet or dry. A dry pad means that your water is most likely not broken. What you experienced could have been an increase in mucus discharge, a small leak from your bladder or other common late pregnancy nuisances. If the pad is wet, you still might not have broken your bag of water. Look at the fluid. What color is it? Urine can many colors, but it is usually colored. Amniotic fluid is usually clear to pale straw colored (lighter than urine).

Smell the fluid. Does it smell like urine? If it smells like urine, it probably is urine. Bladder control issues are not uncommon in pregnancy. If it smells like bleach, it is more likely to be amniotic fluid. If you are still unsure about whether it was your amniotic sac breaking or urine leaking, call your doctor or midwife. They may advise you of other simple ways to test if it is amniotic fluid. They may also ask that you come into their office or the hospital to perform a small test on the fluid.

If you are asked to go in, bring everything you'd need to give birth with you in case they tell you to stay.Your doctor or midwife will use one of two common tests to see if the fluid leaking is your water or not. One simply involves a vaginal exam. During the vaginal exam, the doctor, midwife or nurse will introduce a small piece of paper, called litmus paper. This paper reacts by changing color when it is exposed to amniotic fluid. If the paper doesn't react, your water is not broken.

The other test is to take a small sample of fluid and look at it under a microscope. When amniotic fluid is dry the pattern it makes on the microscope slide looks like a fern plant and is therefore called ferning. So if they see ferning, your water has broken.

If your water has not broken you will be sent home to await the start of labor. If your water has broken, what happens next is dependent upon the protocols of your doctor or midwife. Good luck!"

from here:

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Yeah there is no way to tell on your own. Hopefully you went on in because it probably is amniotic fluid. With my third there was nothing ambiguous about it, it was a gusher. My fourth I threw some towels in the car and went and picked up carpool. :p That one I wasn't sure.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

It's a little scary that you are only 30 weeks, are having contractions, leaking something, and have no car while your hubby is out of town. I'm kind of worried about your situation, to be really honest.

Do you have a friend you can call who would take you in? If your water has broken, you face the real possibility of getting an infection, even if you don't go into productive labor.

Let us know how you are doing!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The first time my water broke I woke my husband to say I thought my water broke and he replied I probably wet the bed. My reply was how often do I wet the bed????? NEVER. I would think it's your water but hope you are having it checked with the litmus test at the hospital or doctor. You don't want it to all leak out.



answers from Cleveland on

put on a pad and in a hr check it and see how full it is, if its a constent leak then best bet is to go get checked out, fluid is just clear and can have no smell to a sweet smell



answers from Topeka on

put on a pad drinks lots of water lay in left side for an hr or 2 don't move when time is up and it is saturated then your leaking fluid,this is what my midwife and OB's go by here where I live when there is no gush of liquid,or it doesn't smell like urine,amniotic fluid has no color nor smell but if it has a tinge of blood then you need to get checked.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions