When baby gives a big kick it can be worrisome — could that little foot poke a hole in the amniotic sac that is protecting him from the outside world? In general, no — baby’s movements are very unlikely to make your amniotic sac rupture, but I want to talk to you a bit more about WHY that’s the case — and what other pre-disposing factors could make your water more likely to rupture early.
Before we get started — how do I know so much about water breaking? Hi, I’m Hilary — I’m The Pregnancy Nurse® and the curly head behind Pulling Curls®. I’ve been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of experience in labor and delivery. I’ve seen thousands of patient’s water break and I have some great data and studies to help you know what it means.
Will Baby’s Movement Make My Water Break?
It is extremely unlikely. It’s much more likely to make you uncomfortable or pee a little. 🙂
First off, we’re not exactly sure what makes water break — rupture of your membranes only happens 8-10% of the time prior to labor, and it is hard to pinpoint exactly what made it happen. But, there are a lot things about the amniotic sac that make this unlikely.
- Remember baby is enclosed in the sac — which means that the majority of the time there is water surrounding the baby and cushions it from harming the sac. Baby is also covered in vernix — a sticky white substance that protects them from being in water and from harming the sac.
- The sac, while thin, is actually quite strong. I’ve had doctors pull and tug at it after delivery and it won’t break. Often they have to punch their finger hard through the sac to make it rupture.
- Nothing sharp in the womb — when we break water in the hospital they use a sharp crochet hook to snag the back of waters and basically tear it. Baby has nothing sharp like that on them in the womb (thank goodness, right)
Pro Tip: If you have a rupture of the membranes without being in labor it is called premature rupture of membranes (also called PROM), if your water breaks before 37 weeks it is called PPROM (or preterm premature rupture of membranes). The vast majority of people will go into labor within 72 hours of their water breaking, every now and they they may need to induce labor (or monitor you if it’s still too early).
Real quick, I’d love to hang out with you during your pregnancy and give you more easy info tailored just to where you’re at:
What does make water break early?
Like I said, we don’t really know in each case — but there are some pre-disposing factors to it including:
- Educational Status of the Mother (has to do with socioeconomic status, I’d guess)
- Poor nutritional status (I’ve seen malnourished patient’s sacs break really easily)
- Cervical insufficiency (meaning it could let the bag slip down into the birth canal)
- Cigarette Smoking during pregnancy
- Urinary tract or STI infections
- Having a large amount of amniotic fluid (polyhydramniois)
- Being pregnant several times
- History of a threatened miscarriage (bleeding early in pregnancy, I’d guess)
- Poor socieconomic status
- Older maternal age
- Connective tissue disorders (like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)
You can read more about what may cause premature rupture of membranes in this study. While it may seem that your water may break at any time, it is pretty unlikely it will (even though the movies pretends like it will).
We do know that once you’re in labor baby’s head moving in your pelvis plus contractions can make your water break, but that is no longer considered PROM because you’re in labor and water breaking is a very normal sign of labor. But still, even then only about 15% of people have their water break outside of the hospital. The rest of you will need your provider to break your water (called a amniotomy).
BUT if you’re not sure if your water broke, if you have a leak or if it’s just vaginal discharge, please do talk with your provider. They want to help you. Having your water broken for a while can increase your risk of infection, so you need to be monitored.
So, while fetal movement (or even coughing) can feel like something bad is going to happen the good news is that mother nature is definitely on your side for this one!
One thing that mother nature is NOT on your side with is preparing for birth. In an era of all the information, it can be harder than ever to know who to trust or what information is valid.
Come join me in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — the easy way to get prepared for birth. In just a few hours we can get you prepared for your hospital birth and feeling anxiety-free as you cruise towards your due date. 🙂
If you’re looking for more information JUST on your water breaking check out these articles:
- Can your water break while you are peeing? Honestly, this would be nice because then you wouldn’t gush all over your carpet or floors — it can happen!
- What makes your water break? — we dive a bit deeper into this topic.
- How much water comes out when your water breaks? — this can be confusing, is it a lot or a little (and HOW is it different for different people)?
- Signs your water is going to break — if there are some. 🙂
- How to tell if your water broke or if you peed (because this can be helpful, urine and amniotic fluid don’t seem that different because it’s baby pee).
- How to tell if your water is leaking slowly — because this can be a problem if you’re not sure what to look for in a trickle of fluid situation.
- And finally — is there an at-home amniotic fluid leak test? Because, you may be wondering that.
I also have a quiz that can help you know if your water has broken (because it can be confusing especially towards the end of pregnancy). The hospital does have a test where they place a swab in your vagina near your cervix and they can know for sure, even if it’s just a trickle.
In my experience I’ve seen a lot of VERY CRAZY babies moving ALL over the place — and that sac stays nice and firm, so I really would take that one out of your things to worry about.
If you feel like you’re not quite ready for a full prenatal class, check out my free prenatal class — It’s your first step towards being your own birth boss. But, I do recommend finding your class and starting by your third trimester (28 weeks).