What should you do if your waters break?


When your waters break it is always a scary and exciting time as it can mean you are about to meet your baby soon!

So how do you know if your waters have broken? You’ve probably seen waters breaking on TV and the movies and it always looks like there should be a dramatic big gush of water. Sometimes this is the case, but other times it is a slow trickle of water. Often women are unsure if they are peeing as babys head often presses on your bladder which can sometimes cause a small leak of urine.  Usually with urine it would only be a small amount then stop, when your waters break it is likely to be a continuous trickle.

Your waters can break at any time, for some women they may break before labour starts, sometimes the pressure from a contraction may cause the waters to pop or sometimes the waters do not break at all. It is thought to be super lucky for your baby to be born in their waters!

So once you think your waters may have broken you should take a note of the time. This is because your midwife will ask you for this time, once they break you are then on a little bit more of a timeline to deliver your baby. This is due to the protective bubble around the baby being broken so there is an increased risk of infection for your baby if they are not born for a prolonged period of time. Most women will find they go into labour soon after their waters breaking but if not then you would be offered an induction of labour, usually after 24 hours.

Take a note of the colour of the water. Your waters should be clear or straw coloured, sometimes they may have a slight pink colour. It helps to put on a sanitary towel as you can see the colour of your waters clearer. If your water is green or dark brown, or heavily blood stained then head into hospital immediately. Water should not smell so if your waters have an offensive smell then you should also head into hospital straight away.

So once you think your waters may have broken then give your midwife or local maternity unit a call and they will be able to give you advice based on your individual risk factors. You will need to go straight to hospital if:

  • you are under 37 weeks pregnant
  • your water is any colour other than clear/light pink
  • you have tested positive for Group B Strep
  • you feel anything hanging from your vagina

If you are low risk your midwife may invite you into hospital to confirm that your waters have broken and check your baby is happy. You may then be sent back home to await labour if it has not yet already started. But once your water has broken you’ll meet your baby soon!

Here at The Baby Academy, we have developed a 1-day live antenatal class to support expectant couples with the most up-to-date and evidence-based information. To learn more about labour and birth, click the button below.