If you’ve watched enough movies, you’d be convinced that a woman can go into labor only when her water breaks! It is always portrayed very dramatically when a woman goes into labor, but nothing could be farther from the truth!
Most women would be surprised to know that it isn’t actually water at all! Your baby in the womb is cushioned by a protective membrane called the amniotic sac and it contains amniotic fluid. It is the opening of this membrane that is referred to as breaking of the water.
For most women, the waters don’t exactly break and cause a gush of liquid to flow. And this is when the confusion arises. During pregnancy, most women experience many kinds of discharges, most are which are harmless. When your water breaks, it might not appear like a lot of liquid, it might just look like a little discharge.
Also Read: 10 ways to ease labour pain during delivery
One might consider the rupturing of the membrane as the start of labor but this membrane can get sealed back up just as easily. Imagine a huge sack that is pricked with a small needle. It will cause a few drops of liquid to flow out and then it might just stop since the membrane can get sealed again.
Ok, so don’t expect your labor to start only after your water breaks. Your water might not just break at all and the contractions can start to take place. Don’t keep sitting around if you feel the contractions increasing, but rush to the hospital.
Many pregnant women confuse mucus with amniotic fluid. Sometimes women lose their mucus plug as they are near the end of the pregnancy but this doesn’t indicate the start of labor. This happens because the cervix gets softened. Mucus is a thick liquid which is whiter and may contain a little blood here and there. Amniotic fluid, on the other hand, is clear and odorless.
In spite of the above differentiation, it might not be possible to identify if it’s water or mucus so it’s better to consult a doctor. Now, you can’t just call up a doctor and expect him to tell you over a phone without looking at it. If you are experiencing any such discharge, you must visit the doctor so that he can observe the liquid under a microscope and tell you what exactly what it is.
However, there is one way to find out if it’s actually water.
This is the STAND-UP TEST. If you stand up and notice that the liquid is flowing more on standing, it is your water!
Here are the sure-shot characteristics of water:
Most of the times, the water breaks when you get up from sleep. The breaking of waters signals that your baby is en route and is pushing his way out. If you happen to experience a steady downpour of amniotic fluid, you can expect the contractions to begin within the next 12 to 24 hours.
Pay attention to the color of the liquid. It should be yellow else it could also be urine. If it’s green or brown, it could be due to your baby’s bowel movement in the uterus and you need to see a doctor immediately since your little one may also have ingested some of it.
If you’re leaking amniotic fluid you can use a sanitary pad to soak it up, but always avoid a tampon and rush to the hospital, as chances of infection increase once your water has broken.
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