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Labour + birth

20th Mar 2024

Three signs that your water is breaking

Anna Martin

water breaking

As your due date approaches, one of the things that might be on your mind is your water breaking

Is it as dramatic as the movies, will you be soaked and panicking, desperately trying to get to the hospital?

The reality is not half as dramatic as Hollywood makes it seem, thankfully. It could be a big gush like we always see in the media or it might just be a trickle.

So how do you know if your water has broken if you didn’t experience the movie moment that no one really wants?

Uncontrollable leak

water breaking
Credit: Getty

When your water breaks, you may feel a gush of amniotic fluid, or you might only notice a slow trickle.

It really depends on if you have a tear or a goss rupture.

Ashley Brichter, certified cooperative childbirth educator, birth and postpartum doula told Parents: “If the amniotic sac is rupturing below the baby’s head, then fluid has built up and will gush out.

“But if the rupture happens higher in the womb, the fluid will have to trickle down between the sac and uterine lining, so the flow won’t be as heavy.”

No matter how your water breaks, the flow of liquid can’t be controlled. You may lose anywhere between 600 to 800mls from the amniotic sac.

You can reduce any wetness and discomfort by wearing a panty liner or sanitary pad or sitting on a clean towel. Never use a tampon.

Mostly clear and odourless

water breaking
Credit: Getty

In general, amniotic fluid is odourless, although some people detect a sweet smell like semen or chlorine.

It’s also usually clear or lightly tinged pink with streaks of blood.

Painless pressure or popping

Some people detect pressure when their water breaks.

Others have claimed they heard a popping noise followed by leakage. Neither should be painful but afterwards, your contractions may become more

Keep in mind, that you should be at the hospital (if that’s where you’re delivering) when your contractions feel strong and last about 45 to 60 seconds.

Also, it’s important to remember that in active labour, contractions are about three to five minutes apart.