If you are pregnant for some time now, or if you are planning to have a baby for that matter, water breaking is something that must have occurred to you sometime or the other. So, if you are preparing to become a mom, you should certainly know a few things about water breaking and what exactly will happen to you when your water breaks. To start with, let me make this very clear that if you think that when your water breaks, a gush of fluid will uncontrollably flow from your body, that is not how it happens. So, what is it, when does it happen and how exactly does it happen? We will discuss everything that you need to know about water breaking during pregnancy in this article.
A Guide for Water Breaking During Pregnancy
When your baby is in your womb, he or she is surrounded by some membranous sac filled with fluid which basically acts as a cushion protecting the foetus against any kind of accident during pregnancy. This amniotic sac protects the foetus against all kind of problems throughout the period of pregnancy. Just before labor, when it is time for the baby to come out of the womb, this amniotic sac ruptures and fluid inside exudes from the mother’s body through the cervix and the vagina. This phenomenon is known as the water breaking.
So, technically, it’s not water but the amniotic fluids in the womb of the mother exuding from her body announcing that labour is not at all very far away. The rupturing of the membrane is accompanied by various hormonal and chemical changes that ultimately lead to the contractions in the body, which is felt a few hours after the water breaking.
You must be wondering how painful this entire process would be! Well, don’t worry because it is not at all painful. In fact, you will be a bit at ease to know that some women even confuse their eater breaking as peeing! You will experience some wetness in your vagina or see some yellow fluid coming out of it. So, you can well understand that it is not that painful and there is nothing to worry about.
How can you be sure when your water is breaking?
It is not always a very easy task to understand when your water is breaking. In fact, women often misunderstand water breaking for urination and vice versa as both are accompanied by feelings of something wet trickling down the vagina.
During the advanced stage of your pregnancy, if you feel that your water is breaking, please consult your gynaecologist or obstetrician immediately. You might even have to visit the nursing home for that matter. You will have to undergo a physical examination to determine if your amniotic fluid is leaking. Sometimes, an ultrasonography is also done to check the volume of amniotic fluid and observe the position of your baby to determine the next set of steps to be taken.
When does the labour begin?
Technically, your labour should follow soon after your water breaks, if it has not already. In most cases, the breaking of water is often not felt and identified. The mother directly feels labour pains and is rushed to the nursing home.
Sometimes, however, the labour is delayed. This typically happens when the water breaks prematurely, that is, the amniotic membranes rupture before they are supposed to. Under such circumstances, the doctor might perform labour induction by stimulating the uterine contractions before they happen on their own. Ideally, labour should follow right after the water breaking because after that longtime labour takes to begin, the greater are the risks of the baby developing an infection. So, if you feel your water breaking, make sure you rush to the doctor immediately without any ado!
What happens when the water beaks early?
Ideally, the water should break after the 37th week of pregnancy. But, if it happens before that, such phenomenon is called premature rupture of membranes or simply, PROM. The symptoms or reasons associated with the premature disruption of the amniotic sack are as follows:
- Intra-Amniotic Infection or Inflammation of the foetal membranes
- Vaginal bleeding during the second and third trimesters
- Smoking or using illicit drugs during pregnancy
- Being underweight with poor nutrition
- Short cervical length
- A history of preterm premature rupture of membranes in a prior pregnancy
Premature water breaking would also lead to a premature delivery. If a woman breaks her water at least in the 34th week of her pregnancy, a premature delivery is usually recommended to avoid any kind of infection. If she is not 34 weeks pregnant, then, of course, the baby is not delivered. In that case, the mother is given antibiotics and steroids (corticosteroids) to prevent infection as much as possible.
What if the water doesn’t break on its own?
During active labour, if your water has not broken and your cervix is dilated and thinned, and the baby’s head is deep in your pelvis, your health care provider might use the process of amniotomy. This is a technique to start labour contractions or make them stronger if they have already begun. During this process, a thin plastic hook is used to make a small opening in the amniotic sac. This leads to the rupturing of the membranes. Once the water breaks, the processes that follow are the usual and conventional ones. This is done just to ensure the rupture of the amniotic sac.
It is perfectly normal to feel tensed and worried thinking about your time of delivery and the processes involved in it. But do remember that the merrier you are, the smoother things will run. After all, each woman goes through this to become a mother and you will make it too! The process of the water breaking is something you cannot do anything about, it is beyond your control. But at the same time, it is always better to learn the process you will have to go through. This boosts up your confidence and clears your conception.