What to expect when my water breaks

What to expect when your waters break

You’ve seen it in the movies or on TV, a pregnant character is standing in the supermarket aisles when suddenly their water breaks and they’re urgently rushed to the hospital to have a baby imminently.

But is that really what happens? Does water break for every woman and what are the chances of it happening to you while you’re out shopping? Read on to find out more…

What to expect when my waters break

When your waters break, it may feel like a popping sensation followed by a gush or trickle of fluid from your vagina. Unlike peeing, you’ll have no control over it. You may not experience the popping sensation, nor may you experience the dramatic effects of your water breaking that is often displayed in films. The fluid won’t smell like urine.

What are my waters?

When your baby is developing inside the womb, they do so inside an amniotic sac. When the sac breaks and the fluid leaks, it means your baby is ready to be born. 

If your waters break before you are 37 weeks pregnant you should get medical help straight away as you could be at risk of premature labour. 

Do waters break for every woman?

As previously mentioned, for the baby to be born, the amniotic sac needs to break. Whilst this can happen naturally and can signify the beginning of labour it is more likely to happen during labour.

Sometimes a midwife will help speed along the process of labour or induce you by breaking your waters. This is called artificial rupture membranes (ARM) and it has been carried out for hundreds of years. The process of ARM doesn’t hurt you and it won’t harm your baby but your contractions may become stronger after, so pain management should be discussed before it happens.

    What should I do when my waters break?

    If you’ve reached the 37 week mark your baby is considered full term and ready to be born. To make yourself more comfortable, place a sanitary towel in your underwear and not a tampon. 

    After the amniotic sac is broken, your baby is no longer as protected as they were, so there’s an increased risk of infection. Call your midwife and let them know what’s happened. You’ll likely be asked to come in for an inspection. 

    Your waters should be clear and shouldn’t smell. If it’s discoloured or contains blood or smells, tell your midwife straight away as you may need immediate care. 

    If your contractions have yet to start, they should do within 24 hours. Contact your midwife if they haven’t as there’s an increased risk of infection now that the baby’s amniotic sac has broken. 

    During this time, you’ll want to keep a track of your baby’s movements too. This is a key indicator of their well-being in the womb. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to go to your birthing centre for a check-up. The midwives are there to help you and won’t judge you for being cautious.

      You deserve to enjoy your labour, birth, and parenthood journey.

      Know what to expect, feel in control, and be heard with our online, midwife-led hypnobirthing course.

      About bitbaby

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      A regular pattern of movements is a key indicator of your baby's well-being during pregnancy.

      Women don't always know how to recognise a regular pattern of movements for their baby and don't know what they should be checking for. This leads to increased anxiety. When they do think something isn't quite right, they don't feel confident and they doubt themselves so don't seek advice straight away.

      We're developing a device that will monitor your baby's movements during pregnancy from 24 weeks onwards so that you can have a better understanding of your baby's regular pattern of movements.

      To read more helpful blogs visit our pregnancy blog.

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