What Happens If Your Water Breaks and You Aren’t Contracting?

By Carrie Bruno

January 15, 2020

Carrie is the founder of The Mama Coach. She is a RN, IBCLC lactation consultant, sleep consultant and mama of two little guys. She leads the North American team of Mama Coaches and is committed to making motherhood easier.

What Happens If Your Water Breaks and You Aren’t Contracting?Your water breaks! Things just got very real. Your bundle of joy is on the way! But what happens if you don’t start contracting? This is a very important question and one that every pregnant mama should be prepared for, just in case.

Ideally, contractions and the rupture of membranes (or your water breaking) should go hand in hand- as this is a good sign that labor is progressing. These two important events occur subsequently as the baby gets closer and closer to delivery.

But sometimes the rupture of membranes occurs without the onset contractions. Why is this an issue? Well, the protective barrier of water surrounding your baby has now been broken- posing a risk for infection for both you and baby. The rupture of membranes is a natural, expected part of delivery but once it’s broken the clock starts ticking.  Your healthcare provider will want baby to be safely delivered within 24-48h (these guidelines vary depending on where you live).

What Happens If Your Water Breaks and You Aren’t Contracting?

First Things First

If you think your water has broken, note the time. Make sure you write it down or tell your partner so that you don’t forget with all the excitement. Also, note the appearance of the fluid (your water should be odorless and clear- yellowish and may have some blood streaks). It’s a good idea to use a sanitary pad to catch the leakage. Your healthcare providers will be asking you these questions. It is important to be aware that intercourse and baths are a big no-no once your water has broken due to the risk of infection.

Next, get checked out by your healthcare provider. They can confirm if your water has broken (sometimes it’s not all that obvious) and will instruct you what to do next. There are typically a few options: watchful waiting, medical induction, or natural induction methods. Your healthcare provider will advise you as to your options. This will depend on how many weeks gestation you are, your infection risk, other maternal risk factors, and of course the well-being of your baby.

If your water breaks prior to 37 weeks, this is called preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) and your doctor will determine if it is safest to deliver the baby or try to keep baby in longer.

The bottom line- every woman’s labor starts differently and each labor is unique. The best thing you can do is be informed about potential scenarios and risk factors to ensure the safety of you and your sweet baby!

Reach out to your local Mama Coach for private or group prenatal classes where we can go over all this is more detail.

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