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When Your Waters Go

When Your Waters Go

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 - 09:44

We’ve all seen the drama on TV, once your waters go time becomes of the essence and baby arrives pretty quickly after this. In reality things are very different especially with your first baby. If your baby is more than three weeks early when your waters break call your midwife immediately.

If you are already having regular contractions or if this is not your first baby, you’ll probably be advised to go straight into hospital. However, if you’re not having regular contractions it may actually be a couple of days after this that your baby arrives. There is a possibility that your labour might have to be induced if it does not start spontaneously.

Sometimes it’s pretty obvious that your waters have gone and other times it’s not. Amniotic fluid is generally clear, kind of like a cloudy apple juice colour. Although it can look a little pink if your birth show is present. Amniotic fluid has a sweet smell in comparison to urine’s acidic smell. If your amniotic fluid is brown or green in colour this indicates your baby has passed meconium (baby’s first poo), you should contact your midwife straight away.


Quite often when your waters go it’s a decent gush, and you may hear a dull pop. As long as the fluid is clear there’s no need to rush into the hospital unless you have been specifically told to do so by your midwife or doctor (you may be asked to do this depending on your baby’s position). Your waters will continue to leak until your baby is born. A pack of Tena Lady incontinence pants is perfect for such occasions. They can contain a large quantity of liquid, they’re secure so you’re not having to worry about maternity pads not staying in place, and they’re disposable pants and pad in one (also brilliant to use in the first 48 hours after birth). Let your midwife know that your waters have gone and arrange to go in for an assessment.

Alternatively, you may start to feel a little damp and think your pelvic floor tone isn’t that great and you’ve had an accident. First thing to do if you’re not sure that your waters have gone is to put on a maternity sanitary towel. Make a note of the time when you think your waters went, your midwife or doctor will want to know. Observe the pad for a couple of hours, if your pad continues to get wet, then your waters have probably gone. If you notice that the little trickle you have is green or brown in colour don’t wait for a couple of hours to see how wet your pad becomes; contact your midwife immediately. If you’re still unsure if your waters have gone, call the hospital, you’ll be asked to go in for an assessment and quite often it’s obvious using a speculum (like when you’re having a smear test) to see if there is a pooling of amniotic fluid in the vagina when you cough.

If at any point things change, for example your waters become darker, call your midwife for advice. Also make sure your baby still maintains movement that is normal for him or her. Remember to eat & drink little and often to help build your energy levels for when labour starts and you don’t feel like eating. Get some rest so you’re not too tired when your little one arrives.


Regina Covington is an independent midwife at Rights Of Passage


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