Jan 25, 2011 No Comments
“I woke up in the middle of the night with a wet bed. Did i lose of my bladder, or did my water break?”
A sniff of your sheets will probably clue you in. If the wet spot smells sort of sweet (not like urine, which has the harsher odor of ammonia), it’s likely to be amniotic fluid. Another Clue that the membranes surrounding your baby and containing the amniotic fluid he or she’s been living in for nine months have probably ruptured: You continue leaking the pale, straw-colored fluid (which won’t run dry because it continues to be produced until delivery, replacing itself evey few hours). Another test: You can try to stem the flow of the fluid by squeezing your pelvic muscles (Kegel exercises) . If the flow stops, it’s urine. If it doesn’t, it’s amniotic fluid.
You are more likely to notice the leaking while you are lying down; it usually stops, or at least slows, when you stand
up or sit down, since the baby’s head acts as a cork, blocking the flow temporarily. The leakage is heavier—whether you’re sitting or standing—if the break in the membranes is down near the cervix than if it is higher up.
Your practitioner has probably given you a set of instructions to follow if your water breaks. If you don’t remember the instructions or have any doubts about how to proceed — call, night or day.
“My Water just broke, but i haven’t had any contractions. When is labor going to start, and what should i do in the meantime?”
It’s likely that labor’s on the way – and soon. Most women whose membranes rupture before labor begins can expect to feel the first contraction within 12 hours of that first trickle; most others can expect to feel it within 24 hours.
About 1 in 10, however, find that labor takes a little longer to get going. To prevent infection through the ruptured amniotic sac (the longer it takes for labor to get going, the greater the risk), most practitioners induce labor within 24 hours of a rupture, if a mom-to-be is at or near her due date, though a few induce as early as six hours after. Many women who have experienced a rupture actually welcome a sooner-than-later induction, preferring it to 24 hours of wet waiting.
The first thing to do if you experience a trickle or flow of fluid from your vagina — besides grab a towel and a box of maxipads – is call your practitioner (unless he or she has instructed otherwise). In the meantime, keep the vaginal area as clean as possible to avoid infection. Don’t have sex (not that there’s much chances you’d want to right now), use a pad (not a tampon) to absorb the flow, don’t try to do your own internal exam, and, as always, wipe from front to back when you use the toilet.
Rarely, when the membranes rupture prematurely and the baby’s presenting part is not yet engaged in the pelvis (more ikely when the baby is breech or preterm), the umbilical cord can become “prolapsed” — it is swept into the cervix, or even down into the vagina, with the gush of amniotic fluid. If you can see a loop of umbilical cord at your vaginal opening, or think you feel something inside your vagina, call 911.