What causes your water to break when pregnant

I know you want to give birth to a healthy and happy little baby and it’s coming up faster than you think.  Some of us moms might have been scared of when our water might break.  If you’re anything like me, a control freak, where I plan out everything, this is mother nature’s way of forcing you to take the back seat. I use to keep puppy training pads in my new car drivers seat when I was in my 9th month just in case.  Some moms say their water breaking felt like pee trickling down where others were puddles.  Don’t worry ladies it will NOT look like a busted balloon and amniotic fluid is stickier than water and it’s not the same consistency. Listen to all these fun water breaking facts in this Pregnancy Podcast Pukeology.

Listen to "What Causes Your Water To Break When Pregnant? Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 54" on Spreaker.

 

 What Causes Your Water to Break When Pregnant?

Your  water breaking assures you that you are ready to welcome your baby into this world. But what causes your water to break? When does it happen? What happens when your water breaks? All of these questions are valid beautiful mamas and why I, Dr. Darna, will walk you thru each and everyone. 

Proven ways to induce labor at home

What Cause Your Water to Break?

In most pregnancies, water breaks naturally when in labor. Your baby floats in water (amniotic fluid) which is surrounded by membranes (amniotic sac). When you go into labor with contractions increasing in intensity, your baby moves down towards your vagina. Much pressure is exerted on the amniotic sac and together with the strong contractions cause the water to break naturally.

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How soon after loose bowels did you go into labor?

Since they are located near each other, it is very common for a loose bowel movement to start the contractions. The smooth muscle of the colon is very close in proximity and most OBGYN's agree that you know your pushing adequately if you poop on the labor and delivery table. Everyone askes "will I poop during labor?" The majority of you will but your L&D team is amazing at getting it cleaned up before you or your husband even notices. 

Listen to "Pooping While Giving Birth Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 34" on Spreaker.

 

How to go into labor?

At times, your doctor can artificially break your water to induce labor. They will perform a procedure called amniotomy after making sure that your baby’s head is facing down.  However, you don’t need amniotomy if your labor is progressing well, and your baby appears to be in good health, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Alternatively, your doctor can induce labor by using a catheter to make your cervix dilate or give you medication such as Pitocin.  Other natural ways like having sex, stimulating your nipples to make your body produce oxytocin, a natural hormone that plays significant role labor, or eating some dates can also help you induce labor safely. We will discuss these proven ways to induce labor at home further in this pregnancy blog. 

How to Know Your Water Has Broken?

Amniotic fluid is clear just like your urine. You might therefore not realize the difference between your urine and amniotic fluid if you trickle fluid or feel a warm wet sensation. Sometimes the water gush out hence you don’t confuse it with urine. It is important to go see your doctor when you are uncertain whether your water has broken. They will examine you and let you know whether you are leaking amniotic fluid.

what color is it when your water breaks

What Happen After Your Water Has Broken?

If your baby is at term, labor will follow within 12 to 24 hours after breaking your water. Sometimes labor may fail to start after you break your water. This is called the pre-labor rupture of membranes (PROM). This requires medical intervention such as taking medication to stimulate uterine contractions.

While the exact cause of PROM is unknown, having the following risk factors can make you have PROM:

  • Uterine, cervical, or amniotic infection.
  • Too much amniotic fluid or multiple pregnancies. They exert excess pressure on the amniotic sac making it break.
  • Active or partial smoker
  • Prior history of PROM
  • Prior history of cervical surgeries or biopsies.

Labor must begin soon after your water breaks to reduce the risk of infections.

Preterm Premature Rupture of Membrane (PPROM)

This occurs when your water breaks before you are 37 weeks pregnant. 25% of all premature births are caused by PPROM. The risk of infection is very high after water breaks and you cannot delay going into labor.

The causes of PPROM include

  • Having a prior history of PPROM
  • Smoking
  • Too short cervix
  • Infections of your genital area and urinary tract
  • Having very low weight and poor nutrition
  • Having multiple pregnancies
  • Having a weak or injured cervix.
  • Having intense physical trauma especially in your abdomen
  • Having amnionitis (infection or inflammation of your amniotic membrane)
  • Conceiving soon after childbirth

PPROM can cause complications to you and your baby. You may experience infections, placenta abruption (placenta detach from the inner wall of your womb before you give birth). Your baby might get infections, have cord problems and complications due to premature birth.

It recommended that you give birth when PPROM occurs before 34 weeks to prevent infections. However, if you are 34 weeks pregnant but have no signs of infections, and your baby have good health, you may safely delay giving birth after experiencing PPROM.

Your doctor will give you drugs such as antibiotics (prevent infections), corticosteroids like dexamethasone (to fasten lung maturation) when if PPROM happens when you are 24 to 34 weeks pregnant.

Does a drop in barometric pressure induce labor?

Don’t we wish the mythbusters would do an episode on whether or not a hurricane, heavy rain or snow storm can induce labor?  As a biomedical physicist prior to medical school, I will tell you everything I know.  Exactly what induces the start of labor is a mystery but studies suggest that drops in barometric pressure (or pressure in the atmosphere) can trigger the amniotic sac to rupture.  We lovely ladies know this best as breaking our water. The amniotic sac is kind of like a balloon, and when you lower the external pressure on it, there’s an increased risk of having it pop.  But the sac is very well protected, so a small drop in this barometric pressure is highly unlikely to cause the reason for the onset of labor as 100% contributing factor.  I do have to say during bad storms the hospital does get full of laboring patients but that may correlate with my bad luck on the floor. A study was done by Yasin and colleagues on deliveries during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which is the lowest recorded drop of barometric pressure, and they found no association between air pressure and labor.  Pass on the knowledge, PLEASE! Now let’s get into natural ways to break your water, especially if you are delivering at home.

how to induce labour naturally at 38 weeks

Ways to go into labor tonight

1. Strip Your Membranes
Have your membranes stripped by your medical professional. Ask your doctor to strip your membranes. This is a process that involves your medical professional to use their fingers to separate the sac of amniotic fluid from the uterus walls. While it sounds pretty graphic, it’s not that bad and not as invasive as having your waters broken. The uterus becomes irritated and begins contracting a few hours or days after the procedure, often breaking your water once you are at home. 

2. Try walking
Walk around and then walk some more. One way in which you can help your water to break in the last days of pregnancy is to walk. Walking is not only great exercise, but it helps your little one drop into the birth canal in order to get ready for delivery. This in itself can help your water break and bring the onset of contractions. Remember not to overdo it, just plan to walk about 20-30 minutes at a time is perfect. 

Ways to go into labor overnight

3. Try having sex
Having sex is sometimes known to help break your water in those last days. This is especially true if you have your membranes stripped at your physician’s office and then go home and have sexual relations with your partner. If you’re worried that sexual relations might injure your baby, it shouldn’t. The only time sexual relations might be dangerous to you or your baby is if you have sex after your water breaks. At that point, sexual relations could place harmful bacteria into the uterus and should not be attempted.

4. Nipple Stimulation
Try nipple stimulation. Nipple stimulation has long been known to sometimes induce labor and trigger the breaking of the waters. Simply roll the nipple as well as the areola back and forth between your thumb and forefinger–or have your partner do it for you while you relax. The key is to simulate the motion that would happen if a baby were suckling. This is thought to be a very powerful way to induce labor because it releases the labor hormone oxytocin, better known as pitocin. 

September 24, 2021 by Dr. Jacqueline Darna
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