When you are pregnant, your baby is floating in a big pool of warm water. This large pool is called the amniotic fluid sac or amniotic sac and will protect your baby until she is born. Later, when it is time to deliver your baby, water breaking will happen and this sac gets empty.
During pregnancy, the fetus will produce amniotic fluid, and your baby is safe from any damage.
On the other hand, it is possible that your amniotic sac will rupture before the required time due to some reasons, and you will face amniotic fluid spilling outside the uterus. What should be done in these situations?
It is essential to know whether the fluid coming out of the vagina is amniotic acid or not? And what to do when the water bag ruptures? In some cases, a person may have passed her 40 weeks of pregnancy, and still, the rupture of the water bag has not happened. On the contrary, rupture of the fluid sac before week 37 of pregnancy is also rare.
What is The Amniotic Fluid Sac & Why It Breaks?
The amniotic fluid or water bag is a semi-transparent bag with a thin wall that lets the fetus float inside the uterus throughout pregnancy. Amniotic sac fluid is made by the fetus itself. In addition, the amniotic fluid sac has a membrane that protects the fetus and is connected to the placenta.
The reason why membrane rupture happens is not known. It seems that it occurs after the fetus sends some signals to the mom's body.
The rupture of the amniotic fluid sac of pregnant women usually does not cause pain and can be recognized by symptoms.
Although in the third trimester of pregnancy, due to a heavy belly and pressure put on the bladder, you need to use the bathroom frequently, there are fundamental differences between urine and amniotic fluid. Also, a distinction should be made between the discharge of amniotic fluid from the body and vaginal mucus.
After the amniotic sac ruptures, the fluid may come out in drops, or it may be a flow of liquid that has a relatively large amount and causes your underwear or pad to get wet.
In terms of appearance, amniotic fluid is transparent or pale yellow in color. Unlike urine, it does have an intense, sweet smell. Suppose your amniotic fluid sac breaks around week 40 of pregnancy. In that case, your baby is getting ready to move out of your body, and the labor process has begun.
On the other hand, vaginal discharge is a thin, white and milky mucus that is similar to the discharge between periods. If you are unsure whether the leaking fluids from your body are due to membrane rupture or another reason, contact your doctor. Explain the situation to him/ her and ask for medical advice. You can also go to the delivery center for an examination.
What Does it Feel Like When Your Water Breaks?
As mentioned, water bag rupture is usually painless and similar to urination. You may ask, what are the signs your water going break? Determining water breaking vs discharge needs attention. The best way to find out is to sniff and see if the liquid that came out of your body smells like ammonia or not. Is it yellow-colored or pale? If yes, then most probably, it is the amniotic fluid itself.
Also, if you use sanitary pads or panty liners and a gush of water or steady trickle of fluid come out and make them wet quickly, it is a sign of membrane rupture. In that case, you should contact your doctor.
Keep in mind that contrary to what they show in the movies, when a pregnant woman's amniotic fluid sac suddenly ruptures in public, she does not lose much water at once. It is not the case in reality.
You may not even notice the membrane rupture. But generally, it may feel one of the following:
- You may have a popping sensation followed by a trickle or a gush of fluid.
- You may feel a sense of wetness and dampness in your underwear.
- Or you may sense leaking from the vagina area as continuous trickles.
Suppose you are near week 40 of pregnancy. There is nothing to worry about. You may ask how long after water breaks do you have to deliver. You can expect the contractions to start within 12 to 24 hours after the rupture of the water bag, and the delivery occurs naturally.
But if you are at or less than 37 weeks of pregnancy, or if the liquid coming out of the vagina has one of the following conditions, contact the practitioner immediately:
• If you see blood in the fluid coming. It means you see a pink or brown color in the streak of water coming out of your body. This means labor is imminent.
• If the water bag is ruptured and the liquid that comes out is green or brown in color. This can be caused by meconium, the fetus's bowel movement.
• If a gush of fluid comes out once and then stops. It may be the membrane of the amniotic sac torn in this case. Still, due to the baby's head positioning downward, it has blocked extra leaking of fluid. However, the chances of getting infected are high.
• In rare cases, you may feel something moving in the vagina or see a loop of the umbilical cord in its opening. It may signal preterm labor. In this case, the umbilical cord is swept into the cervix or vagina.
What Happens After Your Water Breaks?
If you are close to week 40 of pregnancy, water breaking indicates the beginning of the natural process of childbirth. Your doctor will instruct you on some measures to prevent your underwear from getting wet using a sanitary pad.
Usually, your baby is born within 24 hours of the rupture of the water bag and the onset of labor pain. If not, then the doctor will artificially induce labor. Don't worry because, in the meantime, amniotic fluid will continue to be produced by your body until delivery.
But until then, to minimize the risk of infection for you and your baby, you should keep the vaginal area clean and dry. Be sure to dry and clean all your front area when using the bathroom. Avoid having sex at this time.
Early Rupture of Amniotic Fluid Sac
In most cases, your water bag will break when you are already in the hospital or birth center on your due date. Only 1 out of every 10 pregnant women may experience the rupture of their water bag before week 37 of pregnancy. On the other hand, it is possible that even though you are on your due date, sign of labor has not yet started. In this case, your medical professionals will perform an artificial membrane rupture.
If the water sac ruptures before week 37, then a pre-labor rupture of membrane or PROM has occurred. In this case, delivery should begin within 12 hours after the loss of amniotic fluid. If it does not happen, the doctor will induce labor.
Because the longer the interval between the rupture of the fluid sac and delivery, the higher the chance of infection.
Therefore, in this case, you should contact your doctor because risks such as amniotic fluid infection, placental abruption, prolapse of the umbilical cord, and preterm labor may occur.
Another question many pregnant women ask is, can your water break during sex?
It should be mentioned that the amniotic sac is the safest place for your baby, and it is very unlikely that water breaking happens just due to having sex. It is because the pressure during sexual intercourse, which leads to the contraction of the uterus, is not enough to say your water has broken. Of course, you should not opt for a complicated sexual position.
The amniotic sac is a bag containing amniotic fluid that protects the fetus from various risks during pregnancy. It also provides a safe environment for its growth. Naturally, the amniotic fluid sac ruptures around week 40 of pregnancy, and the stages of delivery will take place.
A big question for many women is, what happens when your water breaks?
Sometimes, this may happen before week 37 of pregnancy, or the liquid coming out of the vagina is tinted by blood or fetal feces. This is an emergency; you must call your doctor or midwife and go to the birthing center. Also, suppose the due date has arrived, but the water sac has not yet ruptured. In that case, the doctor will do this artificially and start labor artificially.