Every woman as her pregnancy progresses and as she comes near the end of the pregnancy wonders about how and when will, her water break? Once, the water brakes, labor starts and soon the contractions appear meaning that the baby is on its way.
This is especially very frightening for the first time mothers, as they don’t know what to expect and how it will look like.
When the amniotic membranes rupture, the amniotic fluid will start to leak.
What Does Amniotic Fluid Look Like?
Amniotic fluid has an important role during pregnancy, as it protects the growing and developing fetus inside of the uterine walls. It starts to develop during the second week of pregnancy. Except the fact that amniotic fluid works as a cushioning substance, it also absorbs lipids, phospholipids, proteins, carbohydrate or electrolytes. All these substances are very important for the development of the fetus during its intrauterine life.
Vaginal discharges from time to time during pregnancy are something normal. You don’t need to get freaked out, but you need to get to know your vaginal discharge and notice any change that was not present before. A normal amniotic fluid usually has no odor, even though it can smell like sweet sometimes. It also has no color, even though it can be slight yellowish in color. The vaginal discharge also can contain mucus spots or even blood spots. You should seek medical help and get a check – up every time you notice anything different in your vaginal discharge.
In the late stages of pregnancy, it is kind of hard to distinguish the nature of the vaginal discharge. Sometimes, it can be amniotic fluid, sometimes it can be urine, or even a mix of these two. If the vaginal discharge is urine, it is more likely to occur during the last period of pregnancy, especially during the third trimester. This is due to the fact that the fetus grows in size every day more and more and it finally puts pressure into the urinary bladder, leading to leakage of small amounts of urine, especially while sneezing, coughing or laughing. The leakage of the amniotic fluid usually occurs after urination.
If, in any case you notice something different in your vaginal discharge like a change in color, odor or nature of the vaginal discharge you should seek medical help, consult your doctor and get a check – up. In many cases changes on the nature, color and odor of the vaginal discharge occurs due to infections of the genitourinary tract.
What causes your water to break?
The role of the amniotic fluid is to protect your baby during pregnancy, as it grows surrounded by this fluid inside of the amniotic sac. The amniotic fluid starts to create after the second week of pregnancy. It plays the role of a cushion for the baby during its development inside of the uterus. However, leakage of amniotic fluid in small amounts is considered normal during pregnancy.
Your body knows when there is the time for your water to break and for the labor to start. It is something totally normal and it triggers a serious of events that will finally cause the rupture of the membranes, releasing the amniotic fluid and starting of the labor.
Usually as the time of labor approaches, the baby moves naturally toward the birth canal pressuring against your pelvis, making the water to break. When the water breaks the woman feels a rush of warm liquid, due to the pressure of your baby that has caused your water to break.
Keep in mind, than sometimes the water can break before it is the time for the baby to be delivers. In cases when the water brakes before the 34th week of pregnancy, immediate medical help is necessary as it is a serious condition for both the mother and the baby. Medications of corticoids are usually given to the pregnant women in order to help grow the baby’s lungs faster. The amount of amniotic fluid that remains inside of the amniotic sac is monitored closely and sometimes C-Section is performed in order to deliver the baby pre term. If the water brakes between the 34th and 37th week, the situation is less serious, as the baby is almost mature, even though the lungs are still behind in development when compared to other organs. However, the baby has a great chance to survive and immediate medical help is also necessary in this case to. When the water brakes after the 37th week of pregnancy it is considered that the labor has started. However, the time between the water brake and the delivery of the baby should not be longer than 24 hours as it can lead to complications.
What causes the water to break before time?
As mentioned before the water can break even before it’s the time of delivery. Some of the reasons for early water brakes include:
• Infections of the vagina, cervix or uterus
• Infections of the bladder or/and kidneys
• Multiple baby pregnancy
• Early activation of membrane enzymes, etc.
The amount of the amniotic fluid differs from one woman to another. Some woman have just a little damp, while for other the amount of the discharge from the vagina could be significant. In many cases, the water can break even at night during sleep. Shortly after the water brakes, the contractions will start, if they have not started already.
The leakage of the amniotic fluid before the 34th week of pregnancy requires immediate medical help. If this occurs, your condition is serious as your baby is not grown and developed as it should and it is not able to survive once it gets out of the uterus. Your doctor will give you steroid medicines in order to help grow the baby’s lungs, as they usually reach their maturity after the 36 – 37th weeks. If the delivery of the baby can’t be avoided, a C-Section is performed. In these cases your baby is a pre-term baby. Babies born before the due date, need assistance during the first few weeks of their life.
The leakage of the amniotic fluid between the 34th and 37th week is a little less serious condition, as the fetus is more developed, but still not developed enough to survive on its own. As mentioned before, the lungs are the last organ that matures during intrauterine life, so also in this case your doctor will give you steroid medicines in order to help grow the baby’s lungs.
Keep in mind that even if your water broke on time of the delivery, the baby should be delivered within the first 24 hours. The labor is induced in cases when labor is delayed, as more times passes the chances for complications increase.
What Happens When Your Water Breaks?
Keep in mind that it is a natural part of the childbirth and you should not be worried. Everything is going just as it should. There is also a great chance for your water to break while you are sleeping. Some woman, even think that they have wet their bed and not realize that their water just broke.
Sometimes, your baby can have bowel movements while being still inside of your womb. This is a serious condition, so paying attention to the color of your water is very important.
Also remember, that once your water brakes, you and your baby are at a greater risk of getting an infection. You should not use tampons, but instead you can use pads to capture the fluids. You can have a shower, but you can’t have bath. Sexual intercourse should also be avoided once your water brakes.
Even though it is ultra – rare, there are cases when the baby is born inside of the amniotic sac, which means that the amniotic membranes have not ruptured.