Unless you’ve had an orgasm that’s very strong, the contractions during sexual intercourse aren’t enough to cause your water to break. However, it is possible.
When your water breaks, it might feel like a slow trickle or discharge feeling (some women say it smells like semen). It may also have bits of blood in it.
What causes your water to break?
For the first half of your pregnancy, your growing baby is cushioned inside a fluid-filled sac (amniotic membrane) in your uterus. When your baby is ready to be born, this sac breaks and a gush of clear or pale yellow and odorless amniotic fluid comes out through your vagina. Your healthcare practitioner will likely give you instructions on what to do when this happens, and it’s important to follow them.
In some cases, your water may break before you have a single contraction. This is called prelabor rupture of membranes, or PROM, and it’s fairly common. However, the fluid usually leaks slowly in a trickle rather than coming out suddenly like a geyser. It’s also possible for your water to break long after you go into labor, though that’s less common.
Your doctor can help you to know if your water has broken by doing a speculum examination of your vagina. This involves inserting a small, thin instrument covered with gel into your vagina and checking for a flow of amniotic fluid. They can also do a swab test of the fluid to make sure it’s not infected with group B strep.
If your water does break before you’ve had a contraction, or if it breaks and doesn’t cause you to go into labor within 24 hours, your doctor may induce you to reduce the risk of infection. This can cause discomfort, but it’s better for you and your baby than trying to stay pregnant too long without the amniotic fluid to protect them both.
What happens if your water breaks?
Your water breaks when the membrane encasing the protective sac of amniotic fluid that cushions your fetus ruptures. Depending on your situation, this might be as simple as a small trickle or a gusher of clear to pinkish fluid that leaks out of your vagina. If you are unsure about whether your water has broken, call your doctor’s office or the labor and delivery triage at your hospital to get evaluated within a few hours.
Your doctor might break your water manually with a long plastic rod with a tiny hook on the end. This procedure isn’t painful, but it might cause more contractions than a natural rupture. In some cases, your doctor might also break your water to start labor if it hasn’t already started.
In most cases, when your water breaks, you’ll begin having contractions within about eight hours. Those contractions will become stronger and more regular as your cervix dilates further.
It’s not uncommon for women to think they’re leaking urine when their water breaks. However, amniotic fluid is clear and odorless. If you think your water has broke, you might want to keep a pad nearby or wear loose-fitting underwear. It’s important not to place anything – including tampons – in your vagina until you get evaluated by your doctor. This is because you don’t want a bacterial infection to set in before the amnionic membrane has been broken.
What happens if your water breaks while you’re pregnant?
The first thing to know is that your water breaking does not necessarily mean that labor is imminent. It’s possible to experience something called prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM) — the amniotic sac breaks before labor starts — in the early stages of pregnancy. This happens in around 10% of pregnancies.
If you are experiencing PROM, your healthcare provider will probably want to monitor you closely and may check in on the baby’s heartbeat. If your contractions start to pick up, they can help you time them and see how close you are to going into labor.
Once your water has broken, you can expect to bleed for a while. The amount of fluid you lose can vary from a trickle to a gush. The fluid is usually odorless and clear or pale yellow. It can also have bits of amniotic membrane in it.
It’s important to call your healthcare provider right away if you think your water has broken. They’ll want to check in on the baby’s heartbeat, do a pelvic exam and possibly a swab test for group B strep to make sure you aren’t infection. They may also want to perform an ultrasound to measure the progress of your labour. A healthcare professional can help you decide whether to deliver at home or go to the hospital.
What happens if your water breaks during early labor?
When the water breaks, it is a sign that contractions will start soon (if they haven’t started already) and that delivery is close. It’s important to call your healthcare provider if you think your water has broken so that they can assess the situation and determine what to do next.
Often, the first signs of your water breaking are a sudden gush of fluid that makes your underwear or pants wet. The fluid is typically clear, thin and odor-free. You may also notice a popping feeling, similar to the sensation of emptying your bladder. Some women also have a moment of increased pressure in their abdomen.
Once your water breaks, you will likely go into labor within 24 hours (if it hasn’t already). Contractions begin a few hours after your water breaks and get stronger as time goes on.
Sometimes, your water can break before the baby is ready for delivery, which is called premature rupture of membranes or PROM. It can happen due to a variety of reasons, including infection or changes in abdominal pressure. If this happens, your doctor may use a plastic hook to help break your amniotic sac to start labor sooner. This is only done in very rare cases and is usually performed when the pregnancy is at 34 weeks or less.