Labor and delivery (18)
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- Water breaking: Understand this sign of labor
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Postpartum care (14)
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Water breaking: Understand this sign of labor
Water breaking worries? Prepare yourself for childbirth by getting the facts about this important sign of labor.By Mayo Clinic staff
If you're pregnant, you may be curious about your water breaking — when it will happen, what it will feel like and what to do next. Recognize the signs of water breaking and know what it means for the timeline of your baby's delivery.
What will happen when my water breaks?
During pregnancy, your baby is surrounded and cushioned by a fluid-filled membrane called the amniotic sac. Sometimes — but uncommonly — the sac leaks or breaks before labor begins. This is called premature rupture of membranes. If this happens, you may notice a continuous trickle of watery fluid from your vagina or, just like in the movies, a more obvious gush.
How can I be sure my water has broken?
It's not always easy to tell if your water has broken. For example, it may be difficult to tell the difference between amniotic fluid and urine — especially if you only notice a trickle of fluid. If you're uncertain whether your water has broken, consult your health care provider or head to your delivery facility right away. Be sure to note when you think your water may have broken and be prepared to describe any noticeable color or odor. You and your baby will be evaluated to determine the next steps.
Is there anything I need to avoid doing once my water has broken?
Don't do anything that could introduce bacteria into your vagina. Sex isn't a good idea if you think you might be leaking amniotic fluid. It's OK to take a shower after your water breaks — but your health care provider may recommend skipping it and heading straight to your delivery facility.Next page
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