Hello all...I'm still here...plodding along like a big, old pregnant hippo (I have the temperament of one at the moment). My thoughts are most definitely on impending labour and so this brings me to today's post.
It was the day before my due date in 2010 and I stood up to go to the loo when gush. My waters broke. My husband didn't believe me and assumed I'd wet myself...there's nothing quite like someone being supportive, right?
The media would have a lot of us think that this happens all the time, usually in really inconvenient places like a wedding or the supermarket but apparently, this is not the case; you are less likely to have your waters break first than you are for them to break during labour. For most women, contractions are the first sign of labour.
If your waters breaking is the first sign of labour, however, they are more likely to go at night; during the night or like me, when you get up out of bed either for the loo or to get up in the morning. A lot of people will tell you that you will know when it's your waters, and you may well do...but you may not. There has been more than one occasion in the past week where I have thought 'was that my waters'?
It wasn't, FYI, but it just goes to show that even though I have experienced it once, I'm still not 100% sure of what it feels like, I think that's partly my shocking memory skills! I'll get on to ways to tell if your membranes have ruptured or not, further down.
You are more likely to be one of the 25% to have your waters break (or ruptured membranes) first if...
- Your baby is in a back-to-back position. If this is the case, I have one word for you; epidural.
- You have caught an infection.
- An injury has caused a puncture in the sac.
- Your baby is in an oblique position.
- You have an unusual amount of amniotic fluid (too much/little).
Your waters may or may not go with a pop, sometimes it can be a trickle (mine went pop and then trickled). Ways to tell if it's your waters and not wee are...
- It won't stop, it'll just keep trickling. You will have no control over the flow either, unlike urine.
- It will smell different, some people describe it as a sweet smell. Don't be mortified if your midwife gives them a sniff, it's totally normal (if a teensy bit grim).
- It'll take more than a standard towel to keep up, even a maternity pad will need to be changed often.
- They'll be clear (or with a slight pinkish tinge). If they are brown, green or any other colour, including red with blood, seek medical advice immediately.
If you suspect your waters have broken first, call your midwife/delivery unit at the first instance to inform them, they will run you through some questions and probably invite you in for an examination whether your contractions have started or not. They may well start immediately...but they might not. It was over 24 hours until I started to feel even the first twinge of contractions, which is a situation that presents it's own problems.
If you are lucky enough to have your contractions start immediately after your waters break then congratulations, you are well on your way to getting that baby out! It isn't uncommon for waters to break late in labour, or to even have them broken by a medical professional so if yours have broken and your contractions are going too then kudos!
If your contractions don't start immediately, not to worry, most will start within twenty-four hours of your waters going, however with your waters leaking, there is a risk of infection to you and your baby. The longer you go between the rupture and the beginning of labour, the higher the risk of infection. It's not a huge deal, you will be given anti-biotics throughout/after your labour to ensure that you are both protected if twenty-four hours have passed and baby is still not born. If twenty-four hours pass and no contractions have started, you will more than likely be advised to have an induction by your hospital. If you are booked into a birthing centre or midwife-led facility, the time is reduced to eighteen hours, after which your care will be passed on to the nearest consultant-led service.
And that's pretty much it for general things to know if your waters break first. Never be ashamed to call your midwife, doctor or anyone else for advise if you're unsure, no one will laugh or judge you for being overly-cautious...or if you've had a bladder leak. Honest. No matter what you have to say, I'm guaranteed they've seen/heard worse!
If you're reading this, pregnant, good luck, congratulations and you'll be fine!
Labels: labour, newborn, pregnancy