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  • Writer's pictureMidwife Pip

Key Things to Remember About Your Waters Breaking

Updated: Jan 1


Key things to remember about your waters breaking

Key things to remember about your waters breaking:

If you have watched films about women giving birth you will have seen the waters breaking in pregnancy and a wild rush before a baby pops out, this is not the case and often there is time and even some decisiosn to make once your waters break in pregnancy.


Your baby in pregnancy grows inside a bag of waters, the amniotic sac, which is filled with amniotic fluid (your waters). Amniotic fluid is water made from the mother, as well as being made from baby’s urine and during pregnancy the baby swallows and excretes fluid continually into your waters so it is constantly being produced even once the waters have broken.


The act of waters breaking means that these is a tear or break in the amniotic sac so the water inside can leak out via the cervix and vagina. Some women will feel a ‘pop’ and large gush of fluid, whilst for others it will be a more subtle slow trickle. This is often because there are waters behind and in front of your baby. Hindwaters are behind your baby and these tend to cause a little trickle of fluid as baby’s head acts like a plug preventing so much fluid leaking out. The fluid at the front of baby’s head, your ’Forewaters’ don’t have the same plug of baby’s head and so when these break there may be more of a gush and puddle of waters.


Waters can break at any time- before or during labour, some babies are even born in their waters. The fluid you see should be clear or lightly straw coloured and not heavily blood stained or greenish-brown in colour. You should call your maternity unit or midwife when you think your waters may have broken for a wellbeing check and to make a plan for you and your baby.


For 1 in 20 women, waters break before labour starts and for 60-80% of these women labour starts spontaneously within the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, if labour is not imminent you may be recommended an induction of labour because the risk of infection to baby begins to rise from 0.5% to 1% at this time.


If your pregnancy is full term, your waters break but you have not gone into labour you should be given the choice of:

· Immediate induction of labour

· Await events and monitor- ‘expectant management’


This recommendation will change if these is Meconium present in your waters or you are known to have Group B Strep in pregnancy as these elevate the risk of infection to baby so you may be recommended induction sooner.


Informed decision making during pregnancy and birth is important, for more information on what to expect when your water break check out this week’s Podcast Episode, in partnership with Aptaclub and available on all podcast platforms Midwife Pip Podcast Episode E 125. What to expect when your waters break

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