R is for Rupture of Membranes

What to Expect When Your Water Breaks

Along with pickles and ice cream, a pregnant woman whose water breaks suddenly before her contractions start is a cliché you may have seen many times on TV. In real life, about 10% of full-term labors start this way. Usually it’s more like a trickle than a geyser. Still, it’s important for you to know the signs that your membranes have ruptured.

Your Bag of Waters

When you’re pregnant, a sac of amniotic fluid holds your baby snug and safe in your belly. Also called a bag of waters, it makes room for your baby to grow, keeps her in a steady temperature, and cushions the umbilical cord so it won’t get squeezed.

When your body gets ready to deliver the baby, the water breaks and drains through your vagina. This can happen before or during your labor. That’s when you start feeling contractions and your cervix thins and widens so your baby can pass through. If your water breaks before contractions start, it’s called premature rupture of membranes (PROM).

It is important to remember COAT when your membranes rupture (water breaks).

C: Color of fluid

O: Odor of fluid

A: Approximate amount (gush/trickle)

T: Time you noticed the fluid