Health Pregnancy

What To Do When Your Water Bag Breaks?

Ambili S Kartha

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Mar 22, 2022

What To Do When Your Water Bag Breaks
Reviewed by Expert panel

If you are a first-time mother, for you, the whole water-breaking episode will be a huge mystery. The movies may have played their part in misguiding you by making you believe that your amniotic sac suddenly explodes like a water balloon any time during the last phase of pregnancy. Believe us! Your water breaking will not be usually quite as dramatic as the movies. In real life, you may have to deal with a large puddle of fluid. In spite of all these facts, water breaking is a very significant matter. It signals the nearing labor. It is very crucial during the third trimester an expecting mother to know causes, signs, precautions, what to do when to worry about the water bag breaking. Continue reading to know more about water break during pregnancy.

What Is Water Break During Pregnancy?

Inside the womb, the fetus is enclosed in a fluid-filled amniotic sac. Fluid id called amniotic fluid. This fluid has various functions. It will ensure free movement of the baby inside the womb, it will sustain a constant temperature around the fetus, and protect the fetus from infections. This sac and fluid inside it will also act as a cushion for the baby, shielding it from any external trauma. Usually, when the labor is near, the amniotic sac ruptures and the fluid discharge through the cervix and vagina. It can be a trickle, a slow leak, or even a gush. It is called "water break".

When Does Your Water Break?

Your water bag should break some point towards the last phase of the pregnancy. It is inevitable.

  • More often the waters break during the labor, following the uterine contractions. It can happen at any time during the first or second stage of labor. However, the right time for water break is towards the end of the first stage of labor
  • The water may break even before any other signs of labor (including contractions) appears. This happens for about 10 – 12% women at term
  • For about 2% of women, waters break before they reach 37th week of pregnancy
  • In case of an overdue pregnancy (to induce labor), or if there are some circumstances to speed up the labor, the midwife or doctor will break the sac (artificial rupture of membrane)

What To Expect When Your Water Breaks?

Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Therefore, it is not easy to predict what exactly one should expect when the water bag breaks. You could feel anything from a slight trickle to a large gush. It all depends on a few factors. When the time of delivery nears, engaging happens. This means the baby will attain a head down position. The amniotic fluid between the baby's head and the cervix is called the forewaters, and the fluid above your baby's head is called the hind waters. For most women, the amniotic membrane ruptures just before the labor, and in that case, only the forewaters will leak (the hind waters are blocked from gushing by the baby's head). You will feel a small gush or trickle. Once the labor progresses, in due course, the hind waters will begin to leak. The hind water leak tends to reseal occasionally and the leaking may stop unlike the fore water that continuously leaks

Can You Know Before-hand Your Water Is About To Break?

Well, there's no way to know when your water will rupture. However, this does not mean the mother has to stay indoors close to the estimated due date. Get prepared to face the unexpected rupture. This might help to alleviate some anxiety. Always carry one or two pads in your bag whenever you need to go out, once you reach 37th week of pregnancy. If you're concerned about waters breaking at night spread a waterproof cover over the mattress (under your sheet). Remember, it is not waste of money, as any way you have to do it after delivery to shield the mattress from baby's pee and poo.

What Are The Signs Of Water Breaking During Pregnancy?

Towards the end of pregnancy, as the womb put immense pressure on the urinary bladder, most women experience urine leakage. Distinguishing urine leakage from the water leakage is an issue for many mothers Here are the signs it's the amniotic fluid that wetting your pant:

  • Analyze the leaking fluid accumulated on a sanitary pad. If the fluid has an unpleasant smell (of urine) and has a yellow tinge, it is urine. If it has no color and smell, then it could be the amniotic fluid
  • Hold the pelvic floor muscle tight and try if you can stop the flow of the fluid. If the flow stops it is urine. On the other hand, if it continues to leak, it is amniotic fluid

What To Do When Your Water Breaks?

Once the waters have broken, the baby is more exposed to infections. Here are few things you should keep in mind if your water breaks.

  • Remember the time your membranes ruptured. This will be the first question you will be asked once you reach the hospital
  • Never insert anything into your vagina (even your finger) to check yourself. By doing this you will be inviting infections
  • Go to the hospital right away even if you just doubt you are leaking fluid, especially if you are less than 37 weeks pregnant

Analyze the color of the fluid discharged. Normally it should be clear whitish. Go hospital straight away if the fluid is:

  • Dark or greenish, it indicates that the baby has had its first bowel movement (meconium) inside the womb. As the baby aspires amniotic fluid, the meconium most probably will into their lungs causing breathing trouble
  • Blood stained, it indicates the chance of placental abruption
  • Foul-smelling, it indicate chances of an infection

Also Read: Cramping During Early Pregnancy

When To Be Concerned About Water Bag Breaking?

When your water breaks if you haven't reached 37th week of pregnancy, it is a matter of concern. There are other important things that should be considered regarding water break during pregnancy.

If the water breaks at full term after labor starts:

Go immediately to the hospital, especially if the hospital is far from home. If you are feeling the pressure of the baby in the pelvic area or if you develop an uncontrollable urge to push, getting medical attention as soon as possible, it is important.

If the water breaks at Full Term before Labor starts:

In this case, following 24 hours there pose an increased risk of infection for the mother or unborn child. Therefore, after waiting for a few hours, doctors prefer to induce labor. Surely enough, if the labor has not started within 12 hours after the water break, the doctor will induce labor.

If your water breaks when you are less than 37 weeks pregnant:

It is called preterm rupture of membrane. When this happens,

  • Mother and child have an increased risk of infection
  • There is a risk of prolapsed umbilical cord
  • Increased risk of placental abruption
  • Increased risk of preterm delivery

If the water breaks between 34-36 Weeks:

There is a fair chance for the survival of the baby. In this case, doctors will take the chances of early delivery as the chance of infection is more dangerous than a preterm delivery. If needed, labor is induced.

If the water breaks before 34 Weeks:

The chance of baby's survival is considerably less as its lungs are too immature to work. In this case, the risk of delivering a preemie outweighs the risks of infection. Therefore, the doctor will somehow try to buy some time for the baby's lungs to develop by postponing the delivery as long as possible.

Also Read: Essential Pregnancy Tests During Pregnancy

How Long After the Water Breaks Before the Baby Is Born?

When your waters break, contractions may or may not start right away. Some women may start to feel a period-like pain as soon as the water starts to leak, which gets stronger and eventually progress to contractions. On the other hand, some women have to wait for hours before they feel any contractions. Some will even wait for days! However, more often the contractions will start within 24-48 hours after the water bag break.

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Please share your thoughts and feedbacks with us in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Mar 13, 2018

Thanks for sharing this informative piece!

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| Mar 16, 2018

very useful piece for mothers-to-be who are in their last trimester and are waiting for the d day.

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| Mar 19, 2018

In the event that you are a first-time mother, for you, the entire water-breaking scene will be a gigantic riddle. The motion pictures may have had their impact in misinforming you by influencing you to trust that your amniotic sac all of a sudden detonates like a water swell whenever amid the last period of pregnancy. Trust us! Your water breaking won't be normally very as emotional as the films. All things considered, you may need to manage an expansive puddle of liquid. For more information please visit-

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| Mar 23, 2018

me (37f go jh c hi k j g FG

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| Jan 27, 2019


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| Mar 19, 2019

Same happened with me I have to go to doctor immediately only option was left to deliver baby

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