Water breaking

Water breaking

Shortly before the birth: water breaks – What now?

It happens while eating ice cream with your girlfriend in the café, while shopping in the supermarket or on the way to daycare with your child: the rupture of the membranes. Only every tenth birth begins with the breaking of the water. But if the rupture of the membranes surprises the pregnant woman close to the due date, the starting signal for the birth has actually been given. There is no advance notice of this, it happens suddenly and without any warning. How should a pregnant woman behave now?

Recognize water breaking

Here’s how to recognize when your water breaks – watch for these signs :
Because the amniotic sac has no nerves, the breaking of the water is not painful. It does not always have to be gushing and with a lot of amniotic fluid, which film lands ripe on the floor. Very often it is also just a droplet release of the amniotic fluid.

How to recognize amniotic fluid?
For many pregnant women, the discharge of amniotic fluid feels like urination. However, amniotic fluid is usually lighter in color than urine and cannot be stopped by muscle tension.
If you are unsure, consult your doctor or midwife! They can detect amniotic fluid or a rupture of the membranes without any doubt by means of test strips!
A rupture of the membranes around the due date is completely normal. However, it can also occur much earlier. Then caution is advised!

What can happen during water breaking?

The greatest risk during a water breaking is a prolapsed umbilical cord. If the baby’s head is not far enough into the mother’s pelvis, the baby’s umbilical cord can fall between the baby’s head and the cervix. If the baby’s head then presses on the umbilical cord, the unborn child may be undersupplied and would be in danger. Therefore, it is very important that pregnant women recognize the water breaking.
Another risk factor is infection. The opening of the amniotic sac destroys the natural barrier between the outside world and the baby. From now on, germs can enter the uterus unhindered and lead to infections. There is then a risk of inflammation of the uterine cavity, which can also spread to the fetal organism and would require treatment of the baby with antibiotics after birth. What complications can occur during birth?


What do I do when my water breaks?

There is one golden rule that doctors as well as midwives recommend to pregnant women who have a water breaking: The expectant mother should lie down in a slight lateral position. This will prevent a prolapsed umbilical cord as far as possible. This is purely a precautionary measure.
In addition, after the amniotic sac has been broken, the pregnant woman should always seek the care of a physician or midwife. Moreover, this should be done lying down with an ambulance. Do not be afraid to call the ambulance. Keep calm when doing so and avoid hecticness. If the doctor or midwife confirmed at the last examination appointment that the baby’s head is already firmly and deeply seated in the pelvis, a prolapsed umbilical cord is very unlikely after all.

What happens in the clinic?

If the due date is close, doctors assume that the birth has begun. In the past, birth was still induced immediately if no contractions were felt despite the loss of amniotic fluid. Today, only a few clinics see this necessity and wait – depending on the customs, the cervical findings and the number of previous births – up to 24 hours.

After that, the birth is induced in any case to minimize the risk for mother and child. As long as the water has broken and labor has not yet begun, pregnant women are regularly checked for infection by taking blood samples and measuring fever. Gentler methods, for example in birthing centers, include acupuncture, homeopathy, or nipple stimulation to initiate the production of the body’s own labor hormone and thus finally induce spontaneous birth.

So, a broken water is not a reason for hectic and excitement if it happens close to the due date. It heralds the beginning of the great adventure of “childbirth” and the associated new phase of life for the happy parents.
Take a look at our baby guide and find out what needs to be done after the birth.

[Please note: Our articles cannot replace the advice of a doctor. In case of health problems, please always consult a doctor you trust].