Everything you need to know about your waters breaking
Most people imagine the classic awkward movie situation when you're standing in line at the supermarket or walking up a hill and suddenly all hell breaks loose down there, but the reality of the situation is a lot less dramatic and you'll probably already be in hospital safe and sound surrounded by midwives.
So read on to find out what happens when your waters break and why you need no-longer be afraid of your waters breaking.
So if you're in doubt. Here's everything you need to know!
What it is:
Your waters breaking is when the amniotic sac that has protected your baby in your uterus throughout pregnancy tears. The amniotic fluid then leaks out via your cervix and vagina, normally signally you are on your way to giving birth.
The leaking of the amniotic fluid is usually pretty gradual for most women but for some it can rupture all at once in quite a dramatic fashion but this is quite rare.
What is looks like:
Knowing the difference between urine and your waters breaking can be potentially very confusing.
Having a small trickle of urine now and again is quite common in late pregnancies and this can be particularly confusing if your waters break at night.
A fail safe way to tell the difference is that amniotic fluid does not smell like urine, in fact it has quite a sweet smell and is colourless.
If you experience a gush of green or brownish fluid call your practitioner straight away as this could mean your baby has had bowel movements in utero and could be in distress.
What should you do when it happens:
If you suspect that your waters have broken then call your maternity unit to tell them what you are experiencing.
Keep in mind that labour will most likely not begin straight away, you could be waiting 12 to 24 hours and in some cases more in which case you will need to be induced. You will most likely be admitted to the delivery ward, antenatal clinic or unit as your midwife will need to assess you and advise you which route is best to take.
Once your waters have broken your baby is less protected against infection and so in the interim period of your waters breaking to going into labour you will have to be extra vigilant about your personal hygiene.
Don't do anything that could introduce bacteria into your vagina - that means that sex is strictly off limits, not that you'd be particularly in the mood anyway.
You should use maxi sanity pads to stop the fluid from wetting your clothes and to keep the area clean. You may also be advised not to take a shower and obviously take care to wipe from front to back after going to the toilet.
Although it is an odd sensation, your waters breaking is not something that you need to worry over if you are near to your due date.
However if you are less that 37 weeks gone and you think your waters have broken then contact your GP immediately. This is a rare situation but you will need to be evaluated by your midwife or health care professional right away for the safety of you and your baby.
Similarly you see or feel anything unusual in your vagina, like the umbilical cord at the vaginal opening then get medical help immediately.