Picture this: you're in active labor after six centimeters dilation and working hard, but managing alright. Your water has not yet broken. You've been in labor for a while 8 hours since the start of early labor, but who's counting? Your doctor or midwife comes in, performs a cervical check with your permission, and says that you are 8cm and your bag of water is bulging. Then she says, after your last contraction, "If we break your water, we could move this right along and have a baby soon.
Your water breaking early can also increase the risk of infection and placental abruption when the placenta peels away from uterine lining. Kids Health: Pregnancy Calendar 4. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Your provider may suggest inducing labor in this case. View All. By Mayo Clinic Staff.
Deveny tracy. Profile Menu
When you go to the bathroom, be especially careful to wipe from front to back. No one knows for sure what triggers the chemical chain reaction that begins labor around week 40 of pregnancybut experts point to a number of Financing for marina slips factors, including brain signals from the fetus. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. Risk factors for water breaking too early include:. You can learn more about what to expect in the case of a vaginal birth. See all sources. Contact your healthcare provider right away if your Breaking your water in pregnancy breaks preterm. Ppregnancy water breaking early can also increase the risk of infection and placental abruption when the placenta peels away from uterine lining. Williams Obstetrics. And lots of women have to have the artificial rupture of the membranes by uour practitioner in the hospital. Reviewed April 26, If you're uncertain whether your water has broken, call your health care provider or Breaking your water in pregnancy to your delivery facility right away.
There are many ways to induce or speed up labor.
- Water breaking worries?
- In real life, it may not be so dramatic.
- By now, you may have worried about when and where your water will break — because you've probably heard one or two stories about a pregnant woman's water breaking in an inconvenient time and place.
- There are many ways to induce or speed up labor.
In real life, it may not be so dramatic. Some moms may only experience a slow trickle of water, and for many moms, there is still a while to go before the baby is born. Read on to find out more about what it can feel like when your water breaks and what comes next. No need to panic — your healthcare provider will let you know what to do next. During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded by the amniotic fluid in the amniotic sac, which cushions and protects your baby. At the start of labor, later on during labor, or, in some cases, before labor starts, the membranes of the sac rupture.
For each mom-to-be, her water breaking is a unique experience. The signs of water breaking include feeling a slow leak or a sudden gush of water. Some women feel a slight pop, while others might feel fluid coming out in bursts as they change positions.
The color of the fluid when your water breaks is usually clear or pale yellow, and the fluid has no smell. The fluid level reaches its peak by about week 36 of pregnancy, when there are about 4 cups of fluid, but from then on the amount of fluid slowly decreases. Check out this short video on what happens when your water breaks , with insights provided by a labor and delivery nurse.
How do you know when your water breaks? It can sometimes be difficult to tell when your water has broken, particularly if you only experience an occasional trickle, or if you only find dampness in your underwear.
You can always confirm it via a physical exam or ultrasound. If you suspect your water has broken, make a note of the time. You may already be in labor, but if not, labor typically starts soon after your water breaks.
You can learn more about what to expect in the case of a vaginal birth. If your water breaks before you go into labor, this is known as the premature rupture of the membranes PROM. This occurs in only about 8 to 10 percent of women; for most moms-to-be the water breaks once they are in labor.
If your water breaks, but you have no contractions, your doctor may discuss labor induction with you. Intervention to help bring on contractions can reduce the risk of infection, because this risk increases with time between the water breaking and contractions starting.
If your pregnancy is full-term and your water breaks, stay calm and contact your healthcare provider to get advice on when to head in to the hospital or birthing center. You should also contact your healthcare provider if. Once your water has broken your baby is no longer as protected from infection as he was inside the fluid-filled sac.
To be on the safe side, your provider may recommend you avoid having a bath or using tampons. After your water breaks, you may still have some time to kill before active labor begins. You can still move around to find more comfortable positions, get a relaxing massage, watch a movie, or even spend some time looking at all the cool things you can get with the Pampers Rewards app!
In this case, labor should start within a few hours. It does not hurt when your water breaks, but this procedure can be a little uncomfortable; you might feel a tug, followed by a warm trickle or gush of water. Your provider is the expert and there to talk through your specific situation with you, but you can read about some of the reasons labor may need to be induced here. This is different from PROM, which is when the water breaks shortly before the onset of labor.
Contact your healthcare provider right away if your water breaks preterm. Together you can discuss the best course of action based on how many weeks pregnant you are and the health of you and your baby. Your water breaking early can also increase the risk of infection and placental abruption when the placenta peels away from uterine lining. Your healthcare provider will be able to discuss the risks associated with having a preterm baby and of delaying the labor. Read more about the signs of premature labor , and get some more useful information from our FAQ on having a premature baby.
No matter how your water breaks, it's an important signal that your baby is getting ready to meet you. Take a deep breath, and focus on the task at hand. Skip to home Skip to main content Skip to search. Facebook Twitter Print. Pregnancy Giving Birth. June 14, When to Call Your Healthcare Provider. You should also contact your healthcare provider if Your water breaks preterm , which is any time before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Your provider may suggest inducing labor in this case. What If It Breaks Preterm. Risk factors for PPROM include: Having had a PPROM in a previous pregnancy Having inflammation of the fetal membranes Having had vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimesters Smoking during pregnancy Being underweight with poor nutrition Having a short cervix Read more about the signs of premature labor , and get some more useful information from our FAQ on having a premature baby.
See all sources. Mayoclinic: Water breaking: Understand this sign of labor 2. Kids Health: Inducing Labor: 3.
Kids Health: Pregnancy Calendar 4. March of Dimes: Amniotic Fluid. You might also like:.
Risks and Complications. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. Bishop's Score. Amniotomy Benefits. Labor, delivery, and postpartum care FAQ
Breaking your water in pregnancy. Water breaking: Understand this sign of labor
In some cases, an ultrasound might be done to check your amniotic fluid volume. You and your baby will be evaluated to determine the next steps. Typically, after your water breaks at term, labor soon follows — if it hasn't already begun.
Sometimes, however, labor doesn't start. If you experience prelabor rupture of membranes, your doctor might stimulate uterine contractions before labor begins on its own labor induction.
The longer it takes for labor to start after your water breaks, the greater the risk of you or your baby developing an infection. If your water breaks before the 37th week of pregnancy, it's known as preterm prelabor rupture of membranes preterm PROM. Risk factors for water breaking too early include:. Potential complications include maternal or fetal infection, placental abruption — when the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery — and umbilical cord problems.
The baby is also at risk of complications due to premature birth. If you have preterm PROM and you're at least 34 weeks pregnant, delivery might be recommended to avoid an infection. However, if there are no signs of infection or fetal health problems, research suggests that pregnancy can safely be allowed to continue as long as it's carefully monitored.
If you're between 24 and 34 weeks pregnant, your health care provider will try to delay delivery until your baby is more developed.
You'll be given antibiotics to prevent an infection and an injection of potent steroids corticosteroids to speed your baby's lung maturity. If you're less than 32 weeks pregnant and at risk of delivering in the next few days, you might be given magnesium sulfate to protect the baby's nervous system.
Corticosteroids might also be recommended starting at week 23 of pregnancy, if you're at risk of delivering within 7 days. In addition, corticosteroids might be recommended if you're between weeks 34 and 36 and 6 days of pregnancy, at risk of delivering within 7 days, and you haven't previously received them. You might be given a repeat course of corticosteroids if you're less than 34 weeks pregnant, at risk of delivering within 7 days and a prior course of corticosteroids was given to you more than 14 days previously.
If you're less than 24 weeks pregnant, your health care provider will explain the risks of having a very preterm baby and the risks and benefits of trying to delay labor. During active labor, if your cervix is dilated and thinned and the baby's head is deep in your pelvis, your health care provider might use a technique known as an amniotomy to start labor contractions or make them stronger if they have already begun.
During the amniotomy, a thin plastic hook is used to make a small opening in the amniotic sac and cause your water to break. It's natural to feel anxious about labor and delivery. While you might not be able to predict when your water will break, you can take comfort in your knowledge about the next steps. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
This content does not have an English version. This content does not have an Arabic version. Make an appointment.
Visit now. Explore now. Choose a degree. Get updates. Give today. Healthy Lifestyle Labor and delivery, postpartum care. But in reality, your experience will most likely be very different. Your "water breaking" is the rupture of the amniotic sac that signals your baby is almost ready to be born. No one knows for sure what triggers the chemical chain reaction that begins labor around week 40 of pregnancy , but experts point to a number of complicated factors, including brain signals from the fetus.
Your water breaking probably won't come as a flood of liquid, but rather a slow trickle or a small gush of colorless, odorless amniotic fluid. It sometimes has a sweet smell. Amniotic fluid is a pale, straw-colored fluid. And losing your mucous plug another sign labor is near will look like a glob of mucus in the toilet, most likely, if you even notice it at all. Though many pregnant women leak urine, especially in the third trimester , a sniff will probably clue you in: If the fluid is yellowish and smells of ammonia, it's probably urine.
Don't worry too much about your water breaking when you're on a checkout line: Only about 15 percent of women experience the rupture of the amniotic sac before they go into labor. So chances are good you'll have plenty of warning or you'll already be in the hospital. And lots of women have to have the artificial rupture of the membranes by their practitioner in the hospital.
Most women whose membranes rupture before labor begins can expect to feel the first contractions within 12 hours of that first trickle, while most others can expect to feel it within 24 hours. In the meantime, you won't run out of amniotic fluid — your body continues to produce it right up until delivery.
For about many moms, however, labor takes a little longer to get going. Follow them. If you don't remember the instructions or have any doubts about how to proceed, call, night or day.
If your instructions are to wait for contractions over the next 12 hours or so, you'll need to guard yourself and your baby against infection now that the protective barrier of the amniotic sac has been breached. Use panty liners or maxi pads, not tampons, to keep the amniotic fluid from wetting your clothes, and keep your vaginal area clean.
When you go to the bathroom, be especially careful to wipe from front to back. And not that you're likely in the mood, but sex is now officially off-limits. If you've tested positive for Group B Strep in the weeks leading up to your due date, your practitioner will tell you that you need to get to the hospital right away after your water breaks if it happens before you have contractions and go into labor , since there is a risk of infection. The educational health content on What To Expect is reviewed by our team of experts to be up-to-date and in line with the latest evidence-based medical information and accepted health guidelines, including the medically reviewed What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
How can you get your water to break and is it safe?
So what does it really feel like when your water breaks? It's normal to be a little freaked out about your water breaking, but we've got the information to set your mind at ease.
I was well into my third trimester before I started playing out worst-case labor scenarios. Thanks to my pal Google, I could speculate about everything from placenta previa to preterm labor. But more than anything, I fretted — repeatedly — about my water breaking at work. At the time, I worked in an office in one of Manhattan's trendier buildings. Should my water burst Hollywood-style, I'd have to waddle through throngs of tourists and hipsters, leaving a trail of amniotic fluid in my wake.
It was too much to think about. But it was also a completely normal thing to freak out about, thanks to the movies, which make water breaking seem like a soaking-wet horror show — all panicking and screaming and Lamaze breathing as you white-knuckle it to the hospital. On top of that, everyone's experience is different, so there's no script you can expect to follow when the time comes. To help ease your fears even a little , here's everything you need to know about your water breaking:.
While he's gestating in your uterus, your baby is cushioned and protected by a bag full of amniotic fluid. When that bag ruptures aka "water breaking" , a burst of clear fluid flows out of your cervix and vagina, followed by continuous leaking. Short answer: Yes, but you may not need to reach for your hospital bag just yet.
In an overwhelming majority of cases — some 80 percent — labor begins with contractions, then water breaking. In the other 20 percent, the water breaks first and is usually followed by labor pains within a few hours. The sensation is different for everyone. For some, it's a slow trickle or a discharge feeling you may think you've suddenly become incontinent! For others, it's that Hollywood-style gush, like you just completely peed your pants.
Still others hear a pop and feel pressure, then relief, once the bag breaks. It's also usually clear or tinged with small streaks of blood. This is the million-dollar question and probably the one keeping you up at night!
How much comes out at first can vary from a small leak to an all-out gush, depending on whether you have a tear or a gross rupture, explains Yvonne Bohn, MD, co-author of The Mommy Docs' Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. In the meantime, you can wear a sanitary pad to protect your clothes or lay a clean towel underneath you to protect your seat. A call to your ob-gyn is in order — she'll advise you on when and how quickly to come to the hospital.
Among the factors she'll consider are:. How far along you are. Depending on how early this happens, your ob-gyn may try to delay labor to give your baby more time to mature. Your contractions. It's true that first-time moms often take longer to deliver. But if regular contractions aren't happening within 24 hours of your water breaking, your ob-gyn may want to evaluate you and baby and possibly induce labor with pitocin. How long it's been since the bag broke. If your baby hasn't arrived within 24 hours after your water broke, your doctor may give you antibiotics intravenously.
That's because there's a chance an infection can travel into the uterus and cause an infection in the baby, says Dr. As for what to avoid, it may depend on your doctor.
Hill says. If your water breaks and you're less than 37 weeks or you are GBS Group B Streptococcus positive, contact your ob-gyn — she may send you to the hospital.
Also pay attention to the condition of the amniotic fluid. If it's foul smelling, stained with lots of blood or has a greenish or dark tint, head straight to hospital — those are all signs that your baby could be in distress. Finally, take note of whether contractions have begun. If more than 24 hours have passed since your water broke and you're still not feeling them, call your doctor.
Here's What to Know. Worried About Your Water Breaking? By Bonnie Vengrow. Pin FB ellipsis More. Image zoom. Comments Add Comment. Close Share options. Tell us what you think Thanks for adding your feedback. All rights reserved. Close View image.