When Will My Water Break?

water breaking
Image via iStock

Early labor is something that is a mystery to most people, but the one thing that they always show you in the movies is that your water breaks and then suddenly you are in labor. You know the scene — the hugely pregnant woman is walking through the store and suddenly *gush* the whole floor is soaking wet, and she is mortified, and as a pregnant woman, you expect the same. The truth is that it doesn't happen that way for most women.

Sometimes, it doesn't break.

Sometimes when your water “breaks,” it is really more of a leak than anything else, and sometimes, it isn't even a constant, running-down-you-leg, or wetting-your-underwear type of leak. For many women, the leak only makes you feel like you need to go pee more often, and when you do, there may be a bit of a pinkish color to the fluid on the tissue, which would tip you off to the leak. But other than that you would just feel like you had to pee more often.

{ MORE: Is it the Real Deal? How to Tell When You’re Really in Labor }

If you notice that you are peeing more than usual and there is any color that is out of the norm, you should give your doctor a call just in case.

When will it break?

Most of the stories that you hear of someone having their water break in real life involves them being in bed. Labor is most likely to start at night, so you probably don't need to worry about the grocery store floor. No matter where it happens, it won't be a gallon of fluid — probably closer to a cup or two, which is easier to handle. Most of the time your baby is low enough that her head will act as a fluid block at the cervix, so the water that comes out will just be what was in front of her head and the rest will remain inside.

Most of the time your baby is low enough that his or her head will act as a fluid block at the cervix, so the water that comes out will just be what was in front of your baby's head, and the rest will remain inside.

{ MORE: Labor Prep: Exercises That Can Help You Get Ready for Labor }

What it might feel like.

If you have a leak, it is very likely that you won't have any clue that you are leaking, other than the fluid itself. There probably won't be a feeling that you've sprung a leak.

If your water breaks, you might feel a “pop” feeling. Many women describe feeling as a little burst, and then they feel the fluid, and they know exactly what happened. Even if your water breaks fully, you might not feel anything out of the ordinary, other than the extra water running down your leg or under you when you wake.

{ MORE: Let's Be Honest: C-Sections Are Never Lazy }

First, my water breaks, and then contractions start, right?

The odds of your water breaking as being the first sign that you are in labor are very low. In fact, they are less than 10% in a term pregnancy. It is pretty uncommon to have your water break before you start having contractions. The truth is that usually your water won't break on its own until you are well into your labor, sometimes even while you are pushing your little one out! Your water is designed to guard you and your

Your water is designed to guard you and your baby from feeling so much pressure from the contractions that you are experiencing, so it is meant to stay intact until the very end. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. But more often than not, you will be laboring with your water still sealed up safely inside of your womb.

What do you think?

When Will My Water Break?

Sarah Vickers is a happily married, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of 2 young boys. She is also a gestational surrogate to 4-year-old twin girls and is currently pregnant with a traditional surrogate baby girl who is due to arrive sometime in March of 2013. Sarah is addicted to all things pregnancy-related. She has spent the last several years studying pregnancy,birth, Invitro-fertilization and is also a certified Doula. Sarah also runs a personal blog called Moose and Tater- her sons' nickn ... More

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11 comments

  1. Hope says:

    I think it’s pretty awful.

  2. Karlie says:

    My son came 2 weeks early, he was breech. My water broke while I was going to the bathroom and gushed out every few minutes until my c section. In the 5 hours between, i had no contractions. But my son moving around without the fluid was no picnic!

  3. Shanna says:

    Well I’m out of the norm then… First pregnancy and my baby came 8 days early, my water broke, then I started contractions, and he was born within 3 hours… Easy!

  4. Sarah says:

    It would be nice if they just gave you a little pack of it at some point in your pregnancy so that you could figure it out on your own! I would love that!

  5. Sarah says:

    It’s stuff I wish I would have known going in to my first pregnancy!

  6. Sarah says:

    Mine was pink when it leaked too (even though mine leaked and yours fully broke), and that is how I knew it wasn’t pee. Other than that, I wouldn’t have known!

    Good luck with this one!

  7. Is it just me or does the girl in the picture look like she’s 9 years old?

  8. kimberly says:

    with my first son, I was in bed only been asleep for about an hour 🙂 when I thought I peed myself. I got up and went to the rest room without saying anything to my husband. I saw there was a pinkish look to what I thought was my urine and realized, oh crap, my water broke. So I woke my husband up and I don’t think I ever saw someone jump out of bed so fast in my life, I actually started laughing, which of course made it come out more, lol. This one will be a c-section, so the only time my water will break will be during surgery.

  9. lyndsey says:

    this is good to know!!!

  10. Marina says:

    I quess having Nitrazine paper to confirm if it is amniotic fluid (water has broken) is not an option for everyone.

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