She knows the time is near. She is excited. Her due date is approaching and soon she will be facing one of the most unique challenges there is: labor and birth. She is scared. She is excited. She is ready. She may not know how it will happen or start or when, though in this case, is sooner better than later?
All women will experience labor in a very different way. Some will experience labor pains first. Some experience their water breaking first. Some will have a little of both. It is important that no matter how she experiences labor, she stays calm, keeps her medical team aware of how things are going, and takes things one step at a time. The miracle of life is unfolding inside her, and it is up to her to do her part to help it happen as seamlessly and easily as possible.
Childbirth is not for the faint of heart. It is challenging, exhausting and exhilarating all in one breath. She is so excited to be a part of this, but may also be wondering, can she make it through the tough parts? How will she respond? How will her body respond? It’s not an easy thing to handle. She may opt for an epidural. She may go the natural route in giving birth. Neither way is wrong. What is important is that she listens to her gut and goes with how she is feeling and what she feels is right for her and baby. But even with all the preparation she may have, there could still be some questions on the birthing process she needs answered. Many women may panic when their water breaks and wonder what to do. All that they learned in prenatal classes is forgotten in the excitement of the moment. So, here are some tips for 14 things that start happening right after the water breaks:
13 Popping Sensation
We don’t like to think of ourselves like a balloon for various reasons when we are pregnant, but the best way to describe the way that water breaking fees like is pretty much like the popping sensation of a balloon. This the case for a lot of ladies. They will feel nothing, then all of a sudden will feel a pop, a feeling of some air being extinguished, then hot liquid escaping from between our legs. Now, for most women, it may simply be a trickle that emerges. They may even think that perhaps, forgive the expression, they had a little “accident” after drinking too much water.
Yet while pee accidents and uninary incontinence are very common in pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, a woman will always be able to tell when it was a little loss of fluid due to a bathroom mishap or her water breaking. It is pretty hard to mistake the popping sensation that water breaking makes. Depending on what her experience has been, she can then decide when to make her way to the hospital. Most women though, will call their doctor or the birthing center where they are scheduled to deliver. They will then await further instructions on what to do next.
12 Figure Out If It's Water Or...?
What is common after the water breaks, is the slow trickle of fluid or feeling of wetness that is quite common in the perineum or in the vagina. This could be immediate or take time to come about, depending on the woman and her pregnancy. It is pretty unmistakable that it is a bathroom “accident” of the other kind, as the fluid usually keeps on coming out and well, just feels different. Again, if he woman has any concerns all she has to do is call her medical care practitioner and see what they can suggest as the best way to move forward. No one wants to bother their medical care practitioner prematurely, but sometimes hearing another opinion, particularly a trained one in this area, can help with future labor and delivery options. The important thing is that a woman thinks of her safety and her child’s, which most women already do.
11 It Should Literally Look And Smell Like Water
Another factor that distinguishes actual water breaking from a late pregnancy water breaking is the fact that the fluid the woman feels escaping is colorless and odorless. It is important to note that if she sees any color, or smells any strange odor (some have described it like semen), that she alert her medical care practitioner immediately. They will give her further instructions on what to do next. It is important that she rule out, for obvious reasons, whether she is in labor or having a late pregnancy urinary accident, which is unfortunately very common.
If the latter is the case, she will not be laughed at for checking. Better safe than sorry as the saying goes. If she checks in with odorless and colorless fluid that do mean her waters have broken, she will be given instructions on what the next steps are to do. Another important thing to remember is to alert her medical care practitioner if there is an odor to the discharge or if it is brown or green. This could mean baby has ingested some meconium in utero which is dangerous and needs immediate medical attention.
10 Then Comes The Dreaded Contractions
Another common misconception among a lot of pregnant Moms-to-be is that labor will start immediately after the water breaks. While for some women, labor starts relatively quickly afterwards, for the majority, labor starts a good 12 to 24 hours later, after the water has broken. It is a normal thing that sometimes the process starts further down the road for many women. The important thing to remember is to make sure that labor does start at some point after the water has broken. After 24 hours of water breaking, infection could set in, so a decision has to be made if labor is not progressing and contractions have not started. In this case, an induction may have to be performed, and a c-section may be the outcome if labor does not speed up as it needs to. Doctors will make the best decision for the mother and the baby’s welfare.
9 A Familiar Pain Sets In...
Many women’s contractions start out simply like menstrual cramps, or period-like pain. This means they could start out dull and mild, and slowly start increasing as the labor progresses. It also means they could remain in the period-like phase of mild cramps until they suddenly explode into more intense pain that could be incredibly powerful and scary. Either way, this is labor progressing, and the woman needs to stay calm, alert, and pretty much be ready for anything. Her body is not doing anything wrong. It is simply reacting the way it is supposed to in labor.
As long as she has medical and family support, she will get through it and eventually progress to full out labor where very soon she will be meeting the new addition to the family. It is important to remember that there is no wrong or right way, just the way that one particular woman’ body reacts to labor over another woman’s. She needs support and back up either way.
8 Time For FAQs
If a woman calls he doctor or midwife about water breaking, she will be asked questions to determine if coming into the hospital or birthing center is her best option. Questions she will be asked will be things like “is this her first pregnancy?” “has she had any complications?” “when did her water break?” as well as questions about the color, odor and amount of her water. This is to help determine whether it is worth her while to come in earlier to the hospital or medical care facility, or whether she is better off at home doing her own thing or pacing herself until contractions and labor fully start.
This is a tough decision to make, but most seasoned medical professionals can make the judgement call of when it is a good idea for the woman to come in or not. The hardest thing would be for her to come in and have a long birth experience due to stress. She would at that point be better off staying home where she is comfortable.
7 Baby's Heartbeat Becomes Priority
If she is at the hospital with her water broken, that means she has been told it’s best she come in straight away. And generally if that happens, one of the first things that will happen is that baby’s heartbeat will be taken. It will be measured by a special device to make sure that all is going well with baby’s breathing in utero, so baby will have no issues staying inside as long as is necessary to ensure a healthy and stable birth. This means that baby is not suffering any trauma or stress even though the water supply is diminishing and that they are holding their own during contractions - if they have begun. If a mother starts having difficulty breathing or something else is detected in utero, oxygen will usually be given to make sure that Mom and baby will both be ok for the labor and delivery process.
6 The P Word Is Discussed
Being induced with Picotin means that if after the water has broken and twenty-four hours have elapsed, if she has not gone into labor naturally, it is dangerous to leave baby inside due to risk of infection. In this case, inducing labor to get baby out would be one of the safest things a medical professional can do for mother and baby. The drug that would be used would be Picotin, which would stimulate labor and speed it up. This is the only unfortunate side effect. The woman would feel labor pain quickly and more intensely. It could end up resulting in an emergency c-section if the experience becomes too tiring for the woman and her baby.
The best thing she could do is pace herself when contractions begin. She could do her prenatal class breathing, or try moving around. Sometimes going for a bath or having a soak in a tub could help. Whatever helps her deal with the pain is what is the best course of action.
5 Time For Temp Control
It is also important she has her temperature checked to make sure she is ok, not feverish and not suffering in any way. This could impact on baby which is not good, of course. She could still have mobility and be able to move as she pleases while she is in a birthing center or hospital setting. It is important that she move around naturally for as long as possible, while her temperature is checked from time to time to make sure that she and baby are doing well. Any kind of spike for either of them could indicate distress, so it is important that she have that checked regularly and ruled out if there is an issue. This will also help determine the kind of birth experience she will most likely have - vaginal or c-section. She may also opt for a vaginal birth without drugs, and taking her temperature may help determine whether she is the best candidate for a certain type of birth experience.
4 Whatever's Left Will Be Monitored
An excess of fluid loss means that baby needs to come out quickly. If the loss is a slower trickle, she may still have a lot more time until baby makes his/her appearance in the world. Her midwife or doctor will ask her some questions like “is this her first baby?” “has her pregnancy been straightforward?” “did her waters break with a gush or a trickle?”. Other questions asked would be: “when did her water break? “What color was the fluid? “what time did her water break?” “other signs of cramps and have baby’s movements changed since her waters broke?” It is important to monitor this, as it will determine how soon baby needs to be born. In other words, can a woman wait to go into labor naturally or does she need to be induced for baby to be born soon? This is necessary if there is risk of infection to baby or some other sort of issue or problem with baby.
3 Checking In On Baby
From the moment Mom-to-be comes into the hospital, she will be hooked up to a monitor which will be measuring baby’s movements to make sure that they are doing well. Sometimes when water breaks prematurely and before contractions start, it could indicate that something is wrong with baby’s breathing or else other developmental issues. Having baby’s breathing and movement issues monitored in utero will help the medical team make sure that all is well with baby, and if they detect problems they can determine what to do next.
Sometimes it will be recommended that she deliver her baby immediately even if this means having a c-section. The decision will be determined by how well or not baby is doing in utero. Even if baby is premature, they may fare better outside of the womb. By measuring their progress inside, her medical team can advise her on the best course of action.
2 Breaking The Barrier
Sometimes an amniotomy is suggested when labor is not going very fast. The procedure is basically having one’s amniotic sac broken by the doctor. Statistics have shown that this can sometimes help speed up labor and strengthen contractions. These are things that can in theory help move things along a little more quickly. Some doctors believe that this is a good thing to try if labor is stalled and there is a danger of baby staying inside mom too much longer. The procedure is not complicated and does not hurt. It is more or less like a cervix check. Instead of the doctor measuring how many centimeters she is dilated, a small instrument that looks like a hook will be inserted in. He/she will make a little hole in the amniotic sac. She will feel the rush of fluid start pretty much instantly. It is hoped that this will cause the hormones to kick in and labor to finally start.
1 The Grand Finale
Finally, the last thing that happens after all of the above is the best thing of all: birth. Birth means meeting the little bundle of joy that has been growing inside of her for the last nine months! Every birth experience is different for every woman - depending on whether she opts for a natural birth or an epidural, or a hospital birth versus a home birth or birthing center, and even on the ways she will have prepared months in advance for her labor. Regardless, as scary as it can be, if labor had to be induced or Mom had to undergo a c-section, she needs to remember that this will end in the way she envisioned throughout those long, nine months - finally meeting and holding her little bun no longer in the oven.