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In this Article

    Water Break

    Water breaking during pregnancy

    Written on 14 August 2018

    Expert Verified

    Dr Madhu Gupta

    Obstetrician-Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology

    If you are pregnant then it is obvious that you are curious about different aspects of it. And if water breaking is one of your many questions then this article is for you. When will it happen, what causes water to break, signs that water is about to break and what to do next, we will answer everything in this article.

    During pregnancy, the baby is surrounded or let's say cushioned around with a sac medically known as an amniotic sac filled with a fluid called amniotic fluid. When the sac breaks this fluid releases and this is what we call water breaking.

    Water breaking can occur before the labor or in between it. If the water breaks before labour, it is termed a prelabour rupture of membranes also called PROM.

    CAUSE OF WATER BREAKING

    In general understanding, water breaking is associated with the time for the baby to come out which is kinda true. But this can not always be the case. What happens is when the baby has grown big enough it applies pressure on the membrane during its movement which causes the membrane to rupture indicating that the baby is ready to pop out. There is no clear reason why it happened, but it can be associated with a signal.

    Water breaking happens mostly during the process of labour or after the completion of the full term. But in some cases, it can happen early and this is called preterm prelabour rupture of membranes.

    PPROM happens when the sac is not strong enough due to the lack of a proper nutritional diet for the mom to be. It can also happen if you had

    • vaginally bleeding during pregnancy,
    • had some trauma on your stomach or
    • have experienced placental abruption before.

    If the water breaks before the completion of 38 weeks, then the doctor tries to delay the delivery process allowing the fetus to develop under proper medical observation. If it happens even early, the complications arrive and the child born is premature and is kept in an artificial sac-like environment so that it can develop properly.

    What amniotic fluid is like?

    It is important to know what amniotic fluid is like to distinguish whether the fluid is amniotic fluid or urine or some other vaginal discharge. Amniotic fluid is a clear, slightly yellowish liquid. It has a slightly sweet odour and does not smell anything near urine. This is how you can identify your amniotic fluid from another discharge and if it is not this or urine, then without wasting a second see your doctor.

    SIGNS THAT THE WATER IS ABOUT TO BREAK

    Water breaking experience can not be the same for everyone. Some women experience a popping sensation or tickle in their vaginas before the water gushes out. On the other hand, some women experience excess dampness in their underwear. The water discharge will be uncontrollable and can confuse one whether it is water breaking or urinal discharge. So take a pad and collect the discharge and you can figure out what it is and can decide what to do next.

    WATER LEAKAGE DURING PREGNANCY

    When the amniotic sac breaks and the amniotic fluid flows during labour, it is normal. But if there is any amount of amniotic fluid leakage during the time of pregnancy, then this is not good or normal and you should see a doctor. Naturally, you may leak a small amount but if this occurs often or if the leakage is heavy, then it can cause complications such as

    Also during the third trimester, which is the last phase of pregnancy starting from the 29th week, a low level of amniotic fluid can lead to several complications such as

    • Difficulties during labour
    • High risk of cesarean

    Water breaking is one of the most frequently asked queries regarding pregnancy and this article will help you find answers. But if in doubt, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

    References

    • Medscape: “Premature Rupture of Membranes.”
    • March of Dimes: “Amniotic Fluid.”
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    Verified Article by

    Dr Madhu Gupta

    Obstetrician-Gynecologist - MBBS| DGO, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology
    Written by

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