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What does it mean if my amniotic fluid is not clear?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Amniotic fluid is a colorless or pale yellow, non-odorous fluid that cushions the fetus during pregnancy. Sometimes small amounts a mucous strands from the mucous plug are seen, but in general the amniotic fluid will be clear. Any change in the color or odor of the amniotic fluid may be a sign of a potential problem. Some potential color alterations and the possible etiology are:

  • Red: bleeding - often from the placenta
  • Dark red: hemolized blood – often associated with fetal hemolytic disease
  • Green: passage of fecal material - often associated with intrauterine fetal stress
  • Yellow (dark/golden): presence of bile – associated with either hemolytic disease or the presence of old fecal material
  • Brown particles: Recent passage of meconium

Any of these situations need to be immediately reported to the physician.

If amniotic fluid is not clear, it could mean the baby is stressed or their first stool made it's way into the amniotic fluid.

Dr. Peter T. Nassar, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

The amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby is usually a clear to yellow-colored liquid. Sometimes, when a woman’s water breaks, we notice it can be yellow-green or even a dark green color. This is a result of fetal stool (meconium) that has passed into the amniotic sac.

There are a few reasons this would happen. If babies are under distress or past their due date, they may pass stool prematurely, which makes the water bag green.

This is usually not a big deal during labor. We will monitor the baby for signs of distress, and at the time of delivery, we have specialists who clear meconium from the baby's mouth and vocal cords, so the baby does not inhale meconium fluid, which can cause inflammation in the newborn's lungs.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.