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What to do when your water breaks-- All surprises you need to be prepared for

What to do when your water breaks-- All surprises you need to be prepared for
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Health & Wellness

Water break in the last stages of pregnancy can happen unannounced. ''Any'' time can be ''the time’’ of your baby's arrival in the last stages of the third trimester. Hence, you as a mother need to know how to handle a situation like this without getting panicked. Your baby is now the size of a hara pyaaz and can pop out anytime! 

Hence, you need to recognize the signs of water breaking and know what it means for the timeline of your baby's delivery.

What is water break during pregnancy?

The fetus is surrounded by a membranous fluid-filled sac inside the womb, which is known as amniotic sac. It protects and cushions the baby throughout your pregnancy. When this amniotic sac ruptures, the fluid exudes through the cervix and vagina. The rupturing of the membrane is accompanied by the release of certain hormones and chemicals that start the contractions, which is felt a few hours after the water break.

Amniotic fluid peaks at around 800 ml at 34 weeks of gestation, however, it reduces to 600 ml towards the 40th week, which is a full-term. 

The fluid helps the fetus to move freely inside the womb. It also maintains a constant temperature around the fetus and helps in the proper development of lungs. When the time comes, it makes your body ready to push out the baby into this world. However, water break doesn’t always indicate labor, because, sometimes it could happen prematurely. 

What causes water break during pregnancy? 

The early rupture of the amniotic sac before the onset of labor is known as premature rupture of membranes (PROM). Experts point to a number of complicated factors, including brain signals from the fetus.

Infections in the uterus or cervix: This also includes infections within the amniotic sac membrane. 

Excessive stretching of the amniotic sac: This is likely due to the presence of too much fluid or carrying more than one baby, which puts more pressure on the sac. 

Smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke

Previous surgeries or biopsies on the cervix

Water breaking early is more prevalent if you have had previous cases of PROM. 

Grandma’s Tip: It’s always better to keep someone with you during these last stages of pregnancy, since anytime you may go into labor. If it’s just you and your partner living together and your partner is not present when you start getting symptoms of a water break, keep his number on speed dial or call your neighbor. Never delay this by waiting for him to return!

‘How can I be sure my water has broken?’ 

It is not easy to tell if your water has broken. For example, it might be difficult to tell the difference between amniotic fluid and urine — especially if you only experience a feeling of wetness or a trickle of fluid. 

If you are uncertain whether your water has broken, you should immediately consult your healthcare provider or head to your delivery facility right away. Your doctor will be able to determine if you are leaking amniotic fluid. 

In some cases, an ultrasound might be done to check your amniotic fluid volume. You and your baby will be evaluated to determine the next steps. 

Is there a risk of infection after your water breaks? 

If your water breaks, it can increase the risk of an infection. It is important to speak with your healthcare expert if you think this may have happened and to get examined. Your doctor may ask you for a vaginal exam and/or a sonogram to see if there are any problems. 

If the doctor finds that nothing is serious but you continue to have symptoms of leaking, cramping, or spotting, you may need to get checked out again. 

'When will my water break?' 

Most women do not experience the complications of PROM or PPROM. You can benefit, however, by being informed of the risks and causes, and by following general instructions from your obstetrician. 

If your water does break early or unexpectedly, stay calm and contact your doctor. On the flip side, if your labor begins, but your water does not break, don't panic. In most cases, a woman's water does not break until she is well into real labor. By that time, hopefully, you will already be at the hospital or in the presence of the appropriate health care provider. 

‘What if my water doesn't break on its own?’

It is natural to feel anxious about labor and delivery. While you might not be able to predict when your water will break, you can take comfort in your knowledge about the next steps. 

During active labor, if your cervix is dilated and thinned and the baby's head is deep in your pelvis, your health care provider might use a technique known as an amniotomy to start labor contractions or make them stronger if they have already begun. 

During the amniotomy, a thin plastic hook is used to make a small opening in the amniotic sac and cause your water to break. 

What can you do if your water breaks? 

  • You should immediately call your doctor if –
  • Your water breaks and the fluid looks green or brown, It could mean that your baby had a bowel movement in the uterus (known as meconium) 
  • You feel something in your vagina or see a loop of the umbilical cord at the vaginal opening 
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