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What happens when your waters break?

So THIS has come up a few times in the last couple of weeks. It's usually not in the birth plan, so can feel a bit unnerving if it happens to you. Don't worry, though! It's a sign that things *are* moving in their own way. Here's what you need to know;

This post relates to rupture of membranes at 37wks +. If your waters release *before* you are 37wks pregnant you should contact your midwife straight away.


  • Watch movies or the TV, and waters releasing is a huge gush of water, usually in a the most inconvenient circumstances, and about 2 seconds before a massive contraction. This is rarely the case, and your labour may not start in earnest for a couple of hours.

  • Lots of women worry that waters releasing means they will definitely have to have their labours induced. 1) Induction of labour isn't necessarily a bad thing and 2) most women begin to labour within 24 hours.


  • Your water may go in a gush or a trickle. You might feel a pop. You might just think your pelvic floor has finally thrown in the towel.

  • It's an idea to put a maternity or sanitary towel in your undercrackers. It will help you feel more comfortable, will give you an idea what quantity has released and will help you check for healthy colour and odour.

  • What colour is your water? Ideally it's a straw colour, and odourless. There may be small flecks of blood in it. If it's greenish or brown - or has an unpleasant odour - it can be a sign that meconium is present, and you should tell your midwife soonest.


  • Do phone your midwife and update her. There *will* be protocols for how to proceed, and it's important that you and your baby are checked to ensure there is no sign of infection.

  • This is not an entirely unusual state of affairs, though, isn't an indication that the path of your labour will be diverted. The most important thing now is to stay calm, relaxed & confident.

  • You need to be aware that once your waters release your baby is no longer in it's safely sterile bag - and the thing your midwives will be alert to in infection. That means NO PENETRATIVE SEX, please people! You *may* also be advised not to have a bath

  • The fact that your waters have released is (usually) an indication that your baby are your body are ready to GO. So it's your chance to boost up what nature gave you. So;

  • Take a walk - don't exhaust yourself, you'll need your energy reserves - but getting your pelvis moving can be helpful.

  • Make sure you are feeling calm, confident & relaxed. Listen to your MP3s. Take a bath, or if you've been advised not to bath, a relaxing shower. Your partner can massage you. Watch a favourite movie, or comedy - laughing is GOOD!

  • Oxytocin. I've yet to find a way to say this that doesn't make me sound like either a perv or a prude, but Lady, let's get it on..... Orgasms are a great way to persuade labour to start, as they kick out a huge dose of Oxytocin. You may not be feeling your sexiest, but it's how you got that baby in, and it's how you can persuade that baby out. Be inventive. This is ALL about you.

Want to know more about preparing for your labour & birth with The Good Birth Practice? Clickety click through to my website, and book a FREE 30 minutes discovery call on the BOOK page.


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