How Do You Know and What To Do When Water Breaks

It is good to know what you can do when your water breaks ahead of time. This will help you feel more calm at the time of action. What happens when you get to the hospital or birth center depends on if your labor has started or not and how far along you are.

I think my water just broke!

Sometimes its hard to tell if water actually released. Different circumstances lead to different experiences that may be confusing to really identify if it was really premature rupture of membranes.

Some women have experienced their water broke like that:
– A “popping sensation” feeling
– An intermittent gush of warm fluid
– A slow and steady flow
– Feeling like you have lost control of your bladder

Premature Rupture of Membranes Differentials

These conditions can cause a leak similar to amniotic fluid. Knowing the difference will help you and your doctor or midwife to determine if your membranes are ruptured.

  • Urinary incontinence
    Inability to control leakage with Kegel exercises. This is common in the second half of pregnancy, when your baby is bigger and pushing your bladder.
    – Urine is usually clear, light yellow or can be dark yellow
    – Urine smells like ammonium
    – Leaking stops afters your bladder is empty
    Some women have accidentally peed, and it’s OK it happens. Baby may be compressing bladder and hormones relaxes bladder leading you to pee a little.
  • Semen
    When was your last sexual intercourse? Semen expelled from the vagina can sometimes be mistaken for amniotic fluid.
  • Sweat
    Yes, women sweat around the vagina and may leave a wet panty. It is normal part of the body’s heat regulation.
  • Vaginal discharge
    – Fluid may be whitish, milky or yellowish
    – Fluid is thicker
    – Fluid may have a smell

Amniotic fluid characteristics

  • Amniotic fluid can be clear or cloudy
  • If the fluid is stained with meconium the fluid will be yellow or green. If you see this, go straight to the hospital. This indicates baby had bowel movement, he poop inside, and this should be treated in the hospital for his safety.
  • If you notice there is some blood involved, go straight to the hospital, bloody fluid could indicate risk of placental abruption.
  • Amniotic fluid is Odorless sometimes may have a sweet smell or has a distinct musty odor, which differentiates it from urine.
  • You cannot control flow of the amniotic fluid flow
  • The quantity of the amniotic fluid. Empty your bladder and put a sanitary pad.
    – May be a small, can be continuous discharge and a feeling of moistness on your underwear.
    – May be moderate to large quantity and this may saturate your underwear or pad in less than 15 minutes and continue to leak over time.

Related Amniotic fluid measurements

Time of rupture

Write down the time when your membranes ruptured or if you think your water released.

The interval between the time of rupture until the onset of labor is called latent period this number of hours is important because there is a risk of infection as time pass by.

Latent period may last: from 1 to 12 or more hours.
– From 6 to 12 hours
There is a lack of fluid and many of the diagnostic observations become unreliable.
More than 24 hours AKA Prolonged Rupture of the Membranes
There is an increased risk of  neonatal sepsis and/or intrapartal fever.
– More than 72 hours
Increase incidence of fetal death (stillbirth) or an early neonatal death due to high risk of infection.

Once membranes rupture which normally break by the end of the first stage of labor, but can happen anytime in labor or not.
Approx. 80 – 85% of near-term women with PROM begin labor spontaneously within 24 hours.
10% will be in labor within 72 hours.
5% whose latent period will be longer than 72 hours.

Call your doctor or midwife

Call your health care provider Midwife or Doctor.
Go to the hospital if you are high risk or have a planned cesarean or decided to have a hospital birth.
Go to the birth center if you have a low risk pregnancy and decided to have a natural birth. It is important to consider when your water breaks, at what stage you are in pregnancy.

Related ” “Waters have released” AKA Premature Rupture of the membranes (PROM)”

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