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GROUND BREAKING new technology panty-liner test eliminated pregnancy worry

Around one in ten pregnant women will have a premature rupture of the amniotic membrane which protects her baby, and most will go into labour soon afterwards. Small tears can easily go undetected, leaving both mother and baby at risk of potentially life-threatening infections and preterm ruptures are also a factor in two out of five premature births.

However, it can be difficult to identify tiny leaks of amniotic fluid, and women can easily mistake small leaks of urine — which are common as they approach their due date — for something more serious.

More than 20 per cent of pregnant women attend hospital reporting they feel wetness and around half are sent home after undergoing an internal examination to rule out a leak of amniotic fluid.

Now AmnioSense, an ingenious new medical device, which looks like an everyday panty-liner, can be used to eliminate unnecessary trips to hospital and intrusive medical investigations.

AmnioSense liners include a central test strip which changes colour, and stays that way for at least two hours, when it comes into contact with amniotic fluid.

The initial reaction is triggered by any liquid which has a pH of more than 6.5, which rules out some urinary leaks (the pH of urine ranges from 4.0 to 8). A second reagent in the strip reacts differently to ammonia, so any response caused by urine will fade after 10 minutes.


But crucially, only two drops of fluid are needed to activate a result and clinical trials have confirmed the AmnioSense test is as accurate as hospital-based examinations at detecting small leaks of amniotic fluid.


Clinical studies and independent evaluation by NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), have all confirmed the accuracy and effectiveness of AmnioSense. NICE concluded that using the panty-liner, alongside appropriate changes to clinical practice in the community, should be encouraged.

Community Midwife, Emma Herbert, who has been trialing the new test, says: “AmnioSense gives women control by providing a simple, effective, trustworthy and non-invasive test which allows them to differentiate between a pregnancy niggle and a potentially serious pregnancy complication.

“Another big advantage is that the panty-liner can be worn for up to 12 hours, making it very efficient at detecting small, slow leaks of amniotic fluid. And as the results are stable for at least two hours there is often time for the woman to get to her midwife or doctor and show them the results.”

Premature rupture of the amniotic sac is more common in women who have had a rupture in a previous pregnancy. Cervical surgery increases the risk of problems and women who are overweight or diabetic are also more likely to experience ruptures and leaks.

The potential benefits for the NHS of the new test could be immense. A single visit to an antenatal unit costs £147 and research shows that 38 per cent of women who used AmnioSense did not have to attend because they were able to confirm leaks were harmless.

Dr Paul Stillman says: “There are around 695,000 live births in England and Wales every year,[6] and around a third of those will notice some sort of leak— which adds up to a potential saving of £880,000,[8] not to mention untold worry for both mothers and health professionals.”

AMNIOSENSE will cost £29.99 for 12 diagnostic panty-liners and will be available from Boots and via


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