Mothers always anticipate water breaking and are often cautious to see any kind of vaginal discharge during the end of the first stage of labour. Different people describe the sensation differently.
Some feel an extreme gush between their legs while some feel a huge a sense of vacuum accompanied by a huge gush of fluid out of the system. Many times, mothers claim to hear a small pop sound akin to a knuckle crack, prior to the water break.
However for some women water breaking may seem to be less dramatic. They may just feel a warm trickle of fluid down their legs; some even mistake water break for urine incontinence.
But the only thing advised to do once you feel that your water has broken, is to contact your gynaecologist immediately. The mother is an extremely sensitive situation once the water has broken. She will be prone to bacterial infection at this point. So much so, bathing is also not recommended; heading to the delivery facility is the most important thing during this time.
The breaking of water is nature’s sign to the mother that labour will begin anytime now. Water breaking is generally followed by labour. So in that essence, labour is seldom sudden.
However if water breaks at or around the expected due date period but labour does not set in soon, it is called premature rupture of membranes or PROM. Doctors may try stimulating uterine contractions soon after, as the longer it takes for labour to begin after water break, higher are the chances of the baby developing infection.
Sometimes it takes up to two days for contraction to set in after the water break, but if you feel no sensation after one full day, then contact a gynaecologist immediately.
What can be a cause of worry is when water breaks prematurely, that is before the 37th week. This is known as preterm premature rupture of membranes or preterm PROM. This can be cause by genital tract infection, low BMI, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, or if the mother has had a history or premature rupture of membranes.
This can be a problematic situation as once the water breaks prematurely, delivery can seldom be held back for more than a week or so. In that case, there are chances of foetal infection, placental abruption, and there is a rise in risk of complications due to premature birth.
In terms of labour, some women sense that labour is going to set, a day or two in advance. Some women say that they experience a mix of twinges, Braxton hicks contractions, pressure, backache before the labour actually sets in. But in some cases, labour is very sudden and the water break takes the mother by utter surprise.
But do not get worked up if and when your water breaks as this is indeed a good sign. Your bundle of joy is just a few hours or days away.