By Week 30, you are feeling large and in charge with the space in your body being taken over by more baby, which squishes your organs even closer together. This squishing could lead to digestive issues or increased pressure on your bladder.
By eating smaller and more frequent meals, you not only help prevent digestive upset, but it can help you keep stable levels of blood sugar for sustained energy. Taking in proper amounts of water will help you stay hydrated and help keep the amniotic fluid fresh and in good supply. If you avoid filling up the internal containers, it will feel less uncomfortable as your pregnancy progresses.
As your bladder space is at a premium and your pelvic floor muscles might be feeling the strain, you may find that the need to urinate increases in its urgency or frequency. Recognizing when a little leak is normal and when it isn't, becomes really important. While many women experience a little stress incontinence or discomfort due to a urinary tract infection, a minority of women might be suffering from amniotic fluid loss, so it is important to know the difference or when to seek help.
- Stress Incontinence — You may be experiencing a little leaking when you cough, sneeze or laugh; this is "Stress Incontinence." There isn't a lot you can do to combat this common pregnancy ailment, but upping your Kegel exercises may reduce the frequency and give you a little more control. Plus, adding a good panty liner designed for this kind of event (not a menstrual pad) can prevent embarrassing accidents out and about.
- Urinary Frequency versus Urinary Tract Infection — With a reduced bladder size comes frequent trips to the toilet, but if those trips result in small amounts of urine, or any pain or burning while going, then you may have a urinary tract infection and should report your symptoms to your doctor so you can be tested.
- Amniotic Fluid Loss — There is also a slim chance of potential loss of amniotic fluid, otherwise known as Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM). Accidental leaking while laughing is no laughing matter (or maybe it is), however, gushing small amounts of fluid when you make a sudden movement is definitely cause for concern. This fluid can be a sign that you may have ruptured your membranes and are leaking amniotic fluid. Your doctor will want to test the fluid to determine if it is amniotic fluid or urine. Testing is a straightforward, non-invasive pH test strip. If you test positive for amniotic fluid, this means that your membranes have prematurely ruptured and that you and your baby are at risk for infection. If at least 34 weeks pregnant, induction of labor may be indicated to avoid the complication of an infection. Before 34 weeks, hospitalization with strict bed rest, steroids to mature baby's lungs, and antibiotics to reduce infectious complications are indicated. Take home point: Always report any unusual leakage to your doctor immediately.