Today I want to share five things people most often feel when their water breaks. It always helps to talk about these “weird” things our bodies feel — including popping, feeling like they pee’d and pain with their water breaking — so let’s “dive in” (ewww, sorry I had to).
How do I know so much about water breaking? Hi, I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse®. I’ve been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of labor and delivery experience. I also just so happen to have had thousands of patients, and millions of social media followers that I could poll on what THEY felt when their water broke, so I think this is going to be good!
What do you feel when your water breaks?
We’re going to discuss a few things I often hear — pop, peeing, pain.
Feel a Pop
I heard this from a lot of patients in the hospital — that people felt like a water balloon had popped inside of them, and then warm fluid came gushing out.
Not everyone feels this. I do think when people get a small tear where it’s just a small leak they often don’t feel this. But if you feel a pop it may well be it (or could just be a muscle/ligament — as there’s lots of weird pops in our body when we’re pregnant).
Feels Like They’re Peeing
I’ve had a LOT of people say they woke-up thinking they were peeing their bed only to find out their water had broken.
Other people say they’re just at home or at work and feel like they’re peeing themselves, only to find their water has broken.
Pro Tip: I actually recommend people carry around some towels or puppy pads with them in the car and have a stash at work in case their water breaks in those last few weeks. I also recommend everyone get a waterproof mattress pad just because you never know when your water will break (and that mattress pad is great for parents too). I also love this one to keep in your car (and use forever with kids)
SOME people describe it as painful. I like how someone said it felt like someone snapped a rubber band behind their cervix. I think it’s just the relief of tension in that area in which their uterus freaks-out a bit.
Also, many people report their contractions feeling more painful once their water breaks. All of that is super normal, but that’s why many people report pain with the water breaking.
Your amniotic sac doesn’t have neurons, so it wouldn’t actually HURT when it “breaks” I think it’s the uterus/cervix that feels it most.
BTW if you like descriptive simple terms that makes this whole thing (which can seem really complicated) simple, I think you’ll like this too. Come join me!
How Much Fluid Comes Out?
This is the tricky part, you may just get a small trickle, but MOST people describe a “gush” of fluid when they say their water broke at home.
That isn’t to say that some people have a small leak and in both cases it’s important to talk with your provider to talk about the next steps you should take. It’s just a lot more clear if it’s a gush that keeps coming out, vs something that’s hard to tell discharge vs water breaking.
Also, if you’re close enough to really be wondering this, have you made your birth plan yet?
How does it FEEL?
If we’re looking for more about the experience some people describe it as:
A relief: If you’re in labor, often your water breaking feels really good. The “tightness” of your uterus stretching over the amniotic sac is gone and it all feels like it can relax a bit more. Often, baby will slide more into the pelvis if fluid was keeping them from doing that.
Gross: A lot of people say it’s a REALLY weird feeling to be peeing but you can’t stop it. They also hate that it continues to come out….
Amniotic fluid should keep coming out from time to time. The majority of amniotic fluid is baby pee, and baby pee keeps coming out, so when you feel more and more coming out, that is normal.
Most often when you get to the hospital in that situation we just put you on a puppy bad type plastic sheeting and we keep changing it every now and then to keep you a bit more comfortable.
At home I’d probably let the initial gush happen (sometimes this takes a little bit, so you can always hop in the shower to not get it on your floors) and then wear depends or a big pad after that. Be sure to call your provider to decide what the best spot is for you after your water has broken.
And make sure that you don’t feel anything in your vagina. There is always a chance (a VERY small chance) that an arm or the cord could fall into the birth canal. That is an emergency and you need to call 911 right away in that instance and get your bottom up in the air (head on the ground and up on your knees).
So, that’s what your water breaking feels like — hopefully this helped you understand it a bit better.
Here’s a few more posts you might find interesting:
- How to Tell if Your Water Broke or You Peed?
- Did my Water Break Quiz: How to tell if your water broke
- Can Your Water Break While You’re Peeing?
- How much Water Comes Out When Your Water Breaks?
But, remember water breaking is just a SMALL part of labor, come join me to get prepared for the whole thing. The Online Prenatal Class for Couples can prepare you in just a few hours! I can’t wait to see (and your partner) you inside!
Or, if you’re not quite ready for the full class, check out my free prenatal class — It’s your first step towards being your own birth boss.