This Is my Water Broken Quiz will help you figure out if your amniotic sac broke or if you just peed… even with or without contractions. It can be really hard to tell if your waters are leaking… We’ll talk about how long it can be before baby needs to get out, and how often it happens? Plus, what does water breaking look like?
Reminder: Please don’t take the advice on this website over the advice of your physician or a professional.
This post includes (click to what ever area you’re interested in):
Table of contents
First off, how do I know so much about water breaking?
Hi, I’m Hilary. I’m the curly head here at Pulling Curls, and often known as the “Pregnancy Nurse” on social media. I’ve been an L&D nurse since 2001. I’d love to have you join me on your pregnancy journey:
Did my Water Break?
Everything changes those last few weeks of pregnancy, it can be REALLY hard to tell (I get it).
First off, let’s try a little quiz — that might give you an idea:
Did my Water Break Quiz
I’m going to give you a Is my Water Broken Quiz? to help you determine IF yours is — and then we’re going to talk about ALL The answers, as well as some common mis-conceptions about water breaking.
Don’t forget that this type of AWESOME information is what a prenatal class is for. This one is a game changer in the world of quality prenatal education. I love how you can do it at home!
You can even save 10% with code PC10.
But, let’s talk more about water breaking….
What does Water Breaking Look Like?
A lot of people wonder WHAT it is going to be like. Honestly, most people feel a small trickle that just continues, however most women have a different “story”
It is a varied feeling among women — but let’s talk more about how to know that’s IT!
What will it feel like when my water breaks?
Some women say it feels like a pop and then a gush of fluid.
Some women feel like it’s just like they’re peeing, but they can’t stop it.
It isn’t painful, unless it is accompanied by contractions.
What should I expect from amniotic fluid?
What does amniotic fluid look like?
Amniotic fluid is WATERY, it’s not thick and it isn’t normally bloody (but can have streaks of blood or mucus, that’s normal). If you do gush blood, you need to get yourself to the hospital, and if it’s a LOT you need to call 911, but amniotic fluid smells kind of like a public pool. A little chlorine-y, and a little bit like pee (because amniotic fluid is made mostly of baby pee).
How much amniotic fluid will come out?
You may get a gush, you may get a trickle. Depending on where your on the “sac” it broke, it will gush or trickle. It is likely to dump more when you move, or when you go from sitting to standing. We call that a slow leak — when it’s only a little.
When will the amniotic fluid stop coming out?
It will continue to come out. If you get a gush, and then absolutely nothing, you can probably thank your bladder. I’ve heard of people who had a “dry birth” and I’m not sure what that is. It does keep coming out, it’s baby pee. And in case you didn’t know it already — baby pee is in a seemingly endless supply!
I JUST had this the other day. A lady came in to tell me that about 5 hours previously she had woken-up to a SOAKED bed and was sure her water was broken.
I asked her if she had any leaking since then, and she’d had none.
And her water hadn’t broken.
And frankly, guys – it’s not unusual.
Especially, it was her 3rd, she was older and she just didn’t have a “young” bladder anymore.
The big thing to watch for is if it KEEPS coming out.
Your amniotic fluid is made of mainly baby pee — so it KEEPS coming out. Coughing, or going from sitting to standing should elicit another gush.
Did my water break or is it discharge?
AS I said above — when your water breaks, it is super watery. Yes, you can have a trickle, but if you cough or change positions usually more comes out. Discharge is more constant and often thicker or white. BTW, I have a whole post on vaginal discharge during pregnancy.
This can be hard to tell — which is why we have the test I talk about next….
How to check if your water broke
In order to REALLY know if amniotic sac ruptured — you will have to go to your doctor or to the hospital. Your Labor nurse can test it.
The hospital does have a definitive test. It’s called Amnisure (other hospitals may use Ferning, and some may use Nitrazine paper as an initial test). It isn’t something you want to wait and wait to decide if it’s broken, but you can certainly wait a couple of hours. Maybe shower, put on a pad and see if it’s still coming out.
If you THINK it might be broken, I’d call your doctor to see what they recommend.
What to do if you can’t decide if your water is broken?
First off, put a call into your provider. Sometimes they don’t answer right away, and they might give you some good advice for your particular circumstances.
Second, put on a pad and do some stuff. Lay down and read for a bit, and then get up — does more come out? Most often it will (but not always).
Tricks to Tell if Your Water Broke:
There are a few tricks you can try:
Stand up (or lay down for a bit and then stand up). If your water is broken, most often you’ll get a gush of fluid that has collected in your vagina and runs out when you stand up.
One other time I see a lot of fluid come out is when women lift their hips up off the bed (most often they do it when we’re changing out something that’s under their butt). Often a lot of fluid comes out with that.
Cough — sometimes coughing will also make fluid come out (but also if you have a week bladder, it can make you pee instead).
What happens after my water breaks?
Water breaking itself isn’t all that exciting, but it normally does start “labor” — so, what REALLY happens after it breaks?
Will I go into labor after my water breaks?
Once your water breaks, contractions usually start in the next few hours. If you’re heading to 12 hours without contractions you can expect that your doctor is going to want to start you on some Pitocin (the other induction agents are limited once it is broken). There is a chance of infection now that barrier is broken. They’ll take your temperature frequently (enough to drive your nurse insane). An infection is the main concern if your fluid is broken for a long time. They also may start you on antibiotics after it’s been a while.
BTW, you might be feeling some cramps and wondering when labor is going to start — all very normal! It is harder than you imagine to know if you’re in labor. In fact, I have a whole podcast on labor signs.
Can bad things happen after it breaks?
If anything comes into your “va-jay-jay” besides fluid from your uterus (or just your basic discharge — I’m talking about a THING), you need to get your butt in the air (hands and knees with your face in the floor, bum in the air) and call 911. The cord can slip out when your amniotic sac breaks and this can have serious consequences. Don’t take a shower, don’t have dinner. Call 911. The end.
BTW, this is pretty rare, but it is certainly a pregnancy emergency.
Things to take note of when your water breaks
If you know your water’s broken (and it’s often fairly obvious) check coat:
C — Color (is it clear or green?)
O — Odor (does it smell funny?)
A — Amount (giant gush or a small trickle)
T — Time (what time did it break, remember the clock starts going after your water is broken)
And, when in doubt — call your doctor or head into L&D.
Water Breaking FAQ’s
As long as nothing is hanging into your vagina (I’m thinking arm/leg/cord) — you can shower and change clothes, etc. No huge rush. If something IS hanging out you need to call 911 and get your butt raised above your head.
I see that a lot in “old-timey” books. I think that mostly happened when the water broke LONG before the baby is born. If you clean your house and check different positions for an hour to decide if it’s “for real” that isn’t going to be a “Dry birth.”
Also, amniotic fluid DOES keep coming out as long as baby is well and healthy (because it’s baby pee).
Yes, for sure. The baby continues to make pee — which is what most of amniotic fluid is made up of.
However, you’ve taken what WAS a closed system and opened it up to bacteria, etc. The chance of infection is highly increased once your water breaks for an extended period of time.
Yup, it sure can. I would recommend that women past 36 weeks are SURE they have a waterproof mattress pad.
Yes, as I mentioned above — as long as you don’t feel any-thing (hand, foot, or cord) hanging out — you’re good to shower. However, if you have any questions at all, call your doctor/provider first!
Yes, although it often is contractions that break it.
You can have a “high leak” — and your water will slowly leak out if that is the case.
It can range from clear to greenish — if it’s anything but clear — I would note that to let your provider know.
It is surely not recommended. I also wouldn’t try it, you could really hurt yourself or the baby.
Not really? Contractions would be the only sign that it MAY break soon. Some women say they feel a “pop” and then fluid gushes out. Not much notice though.
Nope. Only about 15% of women have it break on its own before coming into the hospital.
Doctors can break water — and do it frequently to speed labor along.
You can also have the baby inside the water sack — it’s called a “mermaid birth”.
Who knows, some people have their water break prematurely.
Eating a well-rounded diet will help your water bag be as strong as it can be.
Yes, and I’ve heard it’s disconcerting….
Once again — this type of info is exactly what’s in this online prenatal class (some people call it a birth class, hospital class or childbirth class). I’d love to see you inside!
Or, if you’re not sure you’re ready — I have a quick beginning class you might like to try:
This post was originally published in March 2014, and has since been updated.