Will I Know When My Water is Going to Break?

I’m due in a week and a half. How will I know if my water is going to break? Does it feel as though you have to go to the bathroom? Can you hold it in, or is it uncontrollable? Please let me know what to expect.

Question:

Unfortunately, there is no way to know if your water is going to break as the first sign of labor (if there was, mine wouldn’t have broken in a crowded restaurant!). It only happens in early labor about ten percent of the time -- more commonly it happens later, in more active labor. If it does break as the first sign of labor, contractions will usually start on their own within a couple of hours.

When your water breaks it should be painless. You will either feel a gush of fluid or a trickle, depending upon where the leak in the sac is. It is not like urinating -- you won’t be able to control it at all. The fluid should be clear and practically odorless.

Once the bag of waters breaks, you will continue to leak until the baby is born, although in later labor, the baby’s head acts kind of like a stopper and temporarily blocks the fluid from coming out.

If your water breaks at home, you should notify your midwife or doctor for instructions. Depending on your circumstances, they may let you labor at home for a while or may want you to come in to be checked.

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