Pregnant women are usually curious about their water breaking. They wonder when it will break, what it feels like and how it will feel like.

water breaking

What happens when your water breaks  pregnant ?


During pregnancy, the developing baby is covered with a fluid filled amniotic membrane. This membrane will rapture during the beginning of labor. This is what is known as water breaking.


When your water breaks, you may experience the following :

  • wetness in the vagina or perineum
  • an intermittent or continuous trickle of small quantities of watery fluids from the vagina
  • a gush of fluid from the vagina


How do I know my water is broken ?


It may not be that easy to tell if  your water broke especially if you are experiencing wetness or trickle of fluid. If you are not sure what it is, you must go to your healthy care facility. They will be able to determine if it is amniotic fluid through tests or physical exam.

Be ready to answer questions such as when your water broke or whether you noticed any color or odor.


My water is broken …What next ?


It is essential to avoid doing anything that will introduce bacteria into your vagina once your water is broken. It is not advisable to have sex if you think you are leaking amniotic fluid. You can take a shower after your water breaks, however the doctor may recommend skipping all that and heading to the hospital.


Will labor start after my water is broken ?


Labor typically starts right after your  water breaks or even before. However there are delays sometimes. If you experience this  (preterm premature rapture of membrane ), the doctor may induce labor. The longer it takes for labor to start, the greater the risk for you and your baby developing infections.


My water broke too early. What will happen ?


If your water breaks before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is known as preterm premature rapture of membrane. Factors  that may put you at risk for this include the following :


If your  water breaks too early, your doctor will examine you. In some cases, the pregnancy can be continued for about 1 week. Most people with this condition deliver within a week.


Some of the complications you may face if your water breaks early include

  • maternal infection
  • placental abruption
  • umbilical cord problems
  • complications in baby from premature delivery


What if my water doesn’t break ?


A technique known as amniotomy is done if your  water doesn’t break. Before this technique can be done, you have to be in active labor – that is when your cervix is at least partially dilated and the baby’s head is deep in your pelvis .During the procedure, a thin plastic hook is used to make a small opening in the amniotic sac.


If you don’t go into labor, an  amniotomy is done as part of labor induction to start labor.

Content Sources

What causes water to break during pregnancy. Livestrong. April 5, 2015

MWater breaking: Understand this sign of labor. Mayo Foundation. April 5, 2015.

Breaking the waters (ARM) or ‘amniotomy’. Birth. Accessed March 17, 2015


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