During pregnancy, the baby develops inside the amniotic sac filled with amniotic fluid. One of the roles of the amniotic fluid and the amniotic sac is to cushion the baby. Experts believe that the amniotic fluid helps develop the baby’s lungs and the digestive system.
Also, they help maintain a steady and comfortable temperature for the baby.
When the baby is due to be born, the amniotic sac breaks, and the amniotic fluid comes out through the vagina. This is known as the water breaking or the rupture of the membranes. This is often one of the early signs of labor.
What Will Happen When Your Water Breaks?
After the rupture of the membrane, trickles of water are seen. When this occurs, you might feel the wetness in your vagina or on your perineum. Then there could also be constant leaking of a little quantity of watery fluid or a gush of clear or pale-yellow fluid from the vagina. This means that labor is likely and soon to occur.
Most women are expected to have contractions within twelve to twenty-four hours after the rupture of the membrane. The body continues to produce amniotic fluid, even up to delivery.
Although the rupture of the membrane before labor is usual, the woman stands a chance of getting an infection through the broken amniotic sac. This may occur when the expected labor does not occur within twenty-four hours after the breaking of water.
Therefore, most health professionals induce labor within twenty-four hours to prevent infection (That is if the woman is near her due date). When the water breaks before labor, this is known as the Prelabour Rupture of Membrane or Premature Rupture of Membrane (PROM).
However, if your water breaks and your pregnancy is not up to thirty-seven weeks, it is called the Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). PROM and PPROM are very different. You should contact your healthcare provider if you have PPROM.
When you have PPROM, you and your baby stand a higher chance of getting an infection. Also, a risk of placental abruption exsists, and it occurs when the placenta peels away from the lining of the uterus.
These are the risks you will have to discuss with your doctor if you contact them on time. Following the discussion is the decision on the best course of action to ensure safe delivery and sound mother and baby.
Risk Factors for PPROM
- You stand the risks of having Preterm Prelabour Rupture of Membrane if:
- You have a PPROM in a previous pregnancy
- You are suffering from inflammation of the fetal membranes
- You have had vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimesters
- You smoke during pregnancy
- You are underweight and mal-nourished
- You have a short cervix.
How Can You Be Sure Your Water Has Broken?
Water breaking is a unique experience for every woman. Many women may not be able to tell the difference between urine and amniotic fluid, while some may pass the wetness they feel as normal.
This is common in women who do not get the obvious gush of fluid. However, if you are not sure that your water is broken, it is best to contact your doctor to confirm it. You will go through physical examination or an ultrasound (in certain cases) to ascertain the volume of your amniotic fluid.
Following these examinations is the evaluation of you and your baby to know the next best step to take to ensure a healthy mother and child.