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Water Breaking: What Does Giving Birth Feel Like?

Water Breaking: What Does Giving Birth Feel Like?

Are you pregnant or a close acquaintance of someone who is close to giving birth? Then congratulations and hats off to you! There are many women who wish they enjoyed your blessed privilege. As the due date draws nearer, you must be getting quite anxious about giving birth. Although your little one is safely cushioned by a fluid-filled amniotic sac, at some point it will inevitably tear – naturally or doctor provoked. The process is termed “water breaking”.

Surely, by now you’ve heard many horror stories about how it all goes down. Don’t believe everything you hear. For approximately 90% of expecting moms, water breaking will occur spontaneously during labor. Only 8% to 15% of them will actually undergo this before labor contractions occur.

Nevertheless, countless expecting mothers dread that moment, wondering whether they’ll be out shopping, driving, at the hair salon, or having dinner at a friend’s house when it happens. Then, another concern surfaces: “What does it feel like when your water breaks?” Neither apprehensive scenario should be intimidating.

By the end of this post, your mind should be at ease. You’ll be focusing intently on your bundle of joy that’s anxious to get here. They will bring you happiness beyond measure.

Signs Of Water Breaking Before Giving Birth

Some four to six weeks prior to giving birth, your body will be subjected to changes as it prepares you for the delivery of your little boy or girl. For first time mommies, the baby “drops,” cuddling up into the pelvis, taking position for the grand entrance. Your cervix begins to open and to thin out, your uterine muscles start relaxing, and joints loosen up preparing for your baby’s arrival.

A few days before you go into labor, you’ll have a thickened pinkish discharge (called the bloody show). You will lose your mucous plug, which is the cork that seals your uterus. This is a clue that you’ll be giving birth soon. It’s a sign that your water will break either voluntarily or involuntarily (by your OBGYN). Not many symptoms of water breaking prior to giving birth exist. It’s a natural phenomenon that does not give a specific cautionary warning.

Water breaking merely happens when the time is right. Most moms-to-be are already in labor when their water breaks. It is important not to confuse water breaking or amniotic fluid with vaginal fluid, which increases as you near labor. Likewise, be careful not to assume that amniotic fluid is urine or some other vaginal discharge.

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What Does It Feel Like?

Each labor experience is different, even for repeat mothers. When your water breaks, you might feel an erratic or a constant dribble of liquid. Many moms hear a distinct popping noise immediately before their water breaks. One mother explains that with her first child, her water did not break until she was deep into labor. However, with her second child, it felt like a water balloon “popped” and then the water all surged out.

This sensation seems to happen particularly if you are lying down. Then a steady, uncontainable soaking appears next. You might also feel a warm dripping of fluid running down your legs when you stand up. Over the years, many considerate moms have shared their water breaking stories of how it happened and what it felt like.

Some expecting mothers have reported a trickling of fluid, feeling wet in their perineal area. Evonne Lack published various accounts of water breaking over at BabyCenter.com, where several moms-to-be disclosed their occurrences. The descriptions were basically the same whether they emerged at home, at the hospital, or some other place.

It appears that a lot of women underwent the mighty rushing waters encounter. Their water breaking came like a warm thrust of fluid from deep inside. “It was as though a 5-gallon bucket of water spilled out”, one mom recounted. “It was a flood, a gush, a BIG GUSH – like someone placed a water hose on full blast between my legs.” Yet another said it felt like small gushes. Imagine a heavy period dripping down your leg. Conversely, for others it was a slow, steady, and uncontrollable leakage of warm fluid.

One expectant lady revealed while lying in bed, she felt a “pop”. Her husband heard it, too! Then there was a warm sensation as fluid flowed out. There was an audible “pop” that woke another lady from a dead sleep. As soon as she stood up, the “leaking” stopped. Others testified that there was a clear “pop” and the flood gates opened. It felt as if they’d lost control of their bladders.

In another sensation, there was a snap, like someone cracking a knuckle, and then a rush of incredibly warm amniotic fluid. It didn’t hurt, it was just suddenly very wet. Another woman had already been given an epidural when her water broke. To her, it felt like a balloon slid out and popped between her legs. The water jetted out. One mom said there was no popping observation or anything. Each time she lay down she would lose a little water and when she got up, it stopped.

A lady was lying on the couch, when her stomach made a great rumbling sound. She promptly went to the bathroom. Her experience was just a slow trickle. When still another lady’s water broke, it felt bizarre because it was irrepressible. After she finished urinating, there was still a release flowing in the toilet. She said it felt like “a perpetual pee” – like urine was constantly running out and there was nothing she could do about it.

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A full term mother said when her water broke she had dilated about nine centimeters. Because she was in so much discomfort, she declared it felt warm and amazing. The labor pressure and pain left her after a few moments. Another lady said she needed to push, and when she did, her water gushed out. She experienced a huge sense of relief.

There are also those moms who felt absolutely nothing. For various reasons, like having an epidural, they had no idea that there amniotic sac has been ruptured. One mother shared she didn’t even know it had broken until she noticed that she was wet. Another stated she didn’t realize it until she woke up, went to the restroom, and discovered her underwear was soggy.

Someone else said, she got up and the chair was wet where she sat. Another chimed in saying she didn’t feel anything in particular except that afterwards, the contractions hurt more. Others didn’t realize it had broken until seeing the dampness on the hospital bed. One mom expressed that she felt nothing. She just noticed some leaking during her contractions. The nurse confirmed that her water had broken.

So you see, every case really is unique. Just remember that water breaking is a natural phase of giving birth. It alerts you that something phenomenal is about to happen: your baby is very much on the way!

What Does A Mother Do When Her Water Breaks?

After your water breaks, carefully examine the substance released. It can be hard to differentiate between amniotic fluid and urine. Amniotic fluid normally has a clear whitish or straw-color. Foul-smelling fluid signals infection. If the fluid looks green or brown, your baby may have had a bowel movement (meconium staining).

Bloody fluid may signify placental abruption. This rare and severe disorder occurs when the placenta peels away from the inner wall of the uterus before the mother gives birth. As a result, she bleeds substantially and the baby is unable to get needed oxygen and nutrients.

Note the time your water broke, the visible color, and the odor of the fluid. If you observed any complications, call your OBGYN right away – especially if you you’re 37 weeks pregnant or less. A simple test will be made to ascertain whether or not the liquid is amniotic fluid.

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What happens next depends on whether your labor has started, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and what the examinations reveal. Concerns for cervix problems and inflammation in the membranes will be regarded. Whether you have previously experienced premature or multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.), the stage of your baby’s development, and the possibility of vaginal, cervical or uterine infection will also be assessed.

Most probably, you will be admitted to the hospital. If you are full-term, the OBGYN may induce labor if it doesn’t begin on its own within 24 hours and if the baby is developed well enough to survive outside of the womb. It’s highly likely that preterm moms will remain under hospital care until their baby is birthed. In the case of early gestations, the OBGYN will attempt to prolong delivery so the baby’s lungs can mature.

Causes Of Water Breaking

The causes of water breaking are not well-understood, but are a part of the preparation for delivery of your baby. Rupturing of the amniotic sac membrane or “water breaking” is a standard element of giving birth that announces your baby will arrive soon. Under normal circumstances (at term, 37 weeks), a natural breaking of your double-layered amniotic sac will occur as a result of contractions. This is called Spontaneous Rupture of Membranes – SROM.

Should the amniotic sac not tear spontaneously, your OBGYN will almost certainly make an artificial incision to slit your membranes (a process called Artificial Rupture of Membranes), in order to induce your labor, or to speed it up. What makes your water break when you are pregnant depends on whether or not it happens at term or preterm, before or after labor begins.

In a small percentage of pregnancies, premature rupture of amniotic sacs occurs. This is termed Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM). It’s usually caused by several factors – such as the mother’s age, premature activation of the membrane enzymes, stress from a large baby, uneven pressure on the membranes, or from contractions in the uterus. Water breaking can be brought on by the onset of pre-labor or Braxton Hicks contractions, from a low body mass index, vaginal bleeding, smoking, and  bladder, reproductive tract, or kidney infections.

Sometimes; however, simple things initiate water breaking. One mommy said that after going for a walk at the hospital to relieve her contractions, she bent over to throw up. Those pressures made her water break. Go figure.

Are There Any Ways To Prevent Water Breaking?

There are a few treatments that may prevent water breaking in women at risk for premature births, except for those mothers already displaying symptoms. Even so, none of these treatments have been found to be 100% effective. Medical interventions suspend a mother’s giving birth for only a day or two. Remedies are administered to buy time and allow mothers to be prepped for the special care they require. Some of the ways for inhibiting premature water breaking are explained below.

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Antibiotics To Reduce Harmful Bacteria

HealthDay News conducted a study which found that large levels of bacteria seem to cause premature water breaking. Identifying bacteria as a certain cause for preterm tears in the amniotic sac membranes may provide alternatives for proactive rehabilitation. Dr. Amy Murtha, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University School of Medicine, explains, “If we think that certain bacteria are associated with premature rupturing of the membranes, we can screen for this bacteria early in pregnancy. Treating the affected women with antibiotics might reduce their risk for this problem.”

Take Vitamin C To Strengthen The Amniotic Sac

Vitamin C boosts the immune system and may also protect against minor infections that are too insignificant to trigger warning symptoms. Conclusions from a study reported by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition states that daily supplementation with 100 mg of Vitamin C after 20 weeks of gestation effectively lessens the incidence of PROM. To preclude early breakage of the fetal membranes, the suggested 100mg dosage is in the form of mineral ascorbates. Contact your OBGYN or physician assistant regarding the benefits, risks, and appropriate dosages specific to you.

Progesterone, Antibiotics, Cerclages, And Bed-rest

Progesterone and antibiotics are utilized to prolong pregnancy in women at risk for preterm birth. Since infection is deemed to be a hazard for premature labor, antibiotics offer some relief. Cerclages are stitches in the cervix to keep it closed and help prevent premature labor. Although cerclages do not stop labor after it begins, they prolong pregnancy in some women.

Other

Additional ways to avoid untimely water breaking include: using relaxation techniques, acupressure, keeping the bladder empty, and exercise. Bed-rest is still used to avert premature water breaking; however, it is considered to be unsuccessful and may even incite labor acceleration.

Featured photo credit: From Parenting.com Images/Public Domain via parenting.com

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Published on September 21, 2020

The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

The Danger of Overscheduling Your Kids

I am a parent of three children aged 8, 6, and 6. Like many parents, I struggle with knowing the right balance of activities for them. I don’t want my kids to miss out on opportunities to play sports and participate in activities that will enhance their lives and help them grow as individuals. However, I also don’t want them to become overscheduled kids, to the extent that they get worn out and stressed out.

There is a balance in providing activities for our children and overscheduling them. The tendency for the latter is prevalent these days. Our lives — and the lives of our kids — are increasingly overscheduled and overworked. Thus, we need to understand the dangers of having overscheduled kids and how to prevent this from happening in our own families.

What’s Wrong with Overscheduling Your Kids?

1. Overscheduling Can Burn Out Our Kids

When our kids are on the go and scheduled to the max from a young age, their potential to get burned out before reaching high school is quite high. The New York Times reported some research on burnout and found that burnout with kids relates to their workload, along with their parents’ propensity to experience it.[1] This means that overworked children are more likely to get burned out than others. Similarly, overscheduled parents tend to have overscheduled kids more often than not.

Burnout

When a person is burned out, they feel overwhelmed and exhausted by what others expect them to get done daily. Children who are involved in too many activities with little to no downtime have a high chance of experiencing burnout. When parents place too many expectations on their kids, they also have an increased potential to burn out.

If you get the sense that your child is feeling overworked or overwhelmed by their daily activities, you need to know which ones can be cut back. If they have too many activities outside of school work, for instance, then that is one area that likely needs to be downsized.

An overworked child will present various symptoms like moodiness, irritability, crankiness, despondency, anger, stomach aches, headaches, rebellion, etc. Cutting back their activities will help to relieve their stress and reduce the said burnout signs. If your kid has severe burnout symptoms, though, then professional help from a pediatrician or therapist for children should be sought.

Downtime

Downtime is key to helping relieve burnout. If children don’t have free time during the day to have any rest, they are more likely to become burned out than others. Downtime means unorganized free time to do what they enjoy or relax. Cut back your kids’ extra-curricular activities if they don’t have downtime in their schedule.

Here are more tips on creating downtime for the children: How to Create Downtime for Kids.

2. Overscheduling Kills Playtime and Creativity

Kids need time to be kids. When their schedules are filled every day with activities like organized ballet, soccer, and music lessons, and they only take a break for dinner and bedtime, then they are overscheduled. They need to have free time after school to relax and play. When they don’t have that and proceed from one scheduled activity to the next, they are missing out on playtime.

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Playtime is crucial to child development. If they cannot get enough time to play, then their ability to develop their creativity decreases. The Genius of Play explains that there are six major developmental benefits that children get from playtime:[2]

  • Creativity
  • Social skill development
  • Cognitive development
  • Physical development (i.e., balance, coordination)
  • Communication skills
  • Emotional development

If children don’t have time to play because they are always on-the-go, then they are missing out on the developmental benefits of play.

Children need downtime after school so that they can unwind, play, and decompress. Research from the Journal of Early Childhood Development and Care showed that kids need to play to deal with anxiety, stress, and worry.[3] Playtime provides an outlet for them to manage these emotions in a healthy manner and helps with the development of their creativity.

Children need free time to play every day. Fifteen minutes at recess is not enough. They need time for it after school, at home, outside of the constraints of scheduled activities.

Solution

Ensure that your child has time to play after school. This is especially important for young children who greatly benefit from playing. Limit organized activities so that your child is not scheduled every day and can play after school. If they have an activity every hour, then it doesn’t allow for playtime.

3. Overscheduling Causes Stress and Pressure

When kids are overscheduled because their parents are so intent on having high-performing children, then they will feel stressed. Parental pressure upon a child to do well in academics, music, multiple sports, and religious studies is a reality for many kids. The children scheduled in all of these activities can often feel stress and pressure, especially when they are expected to succeed in all of them.

It is hard enough for kids to be good or succeed at a single activity. For a parent to overschedule their child and expect superior performance in various activities, that is a recipe for a stressed-out child.

Solution

Parents should not schedule kids in multiple activities with the expectation of superior performance in all. They should also consider the child’s interests. If the child is not interested in one activity, then they are likely to feel stressed and pressured to do it.

For example, if Suzy has been taking piano lessons for four years, and she no longer enjoys learning the instrument, then perhaps it is time to take a break. If Suzy is forced to continue with the lessons and daily practices, then she may feel pressured to continue performing simply because her mom wants her to do so. This can lead Suzy to resent her mother for forcing her to keep on doing something that she doesn’t like anymore.

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Let your child help in selecting the activities that they get involved in. Also, put a cap on the number of activities they are doing. If they have a different activity every weekday, then they are likely overscheduled.

Kids need downtime and time to play, too. If they need to do a new activity every day, that downtime is diminished, considering the time at home or outside of the scheduled activities is limited. This limited time is then filled with homework, mealtime, and bedtime prep. Eliminating activities several days a week will allow the child to have some time to play freely. The younger the kid is, the more time they need playtime. As they get older, they can take on more activities; however, under the age of 13, playing daily is a must for children.

4. Healthy Eating Falls by the Wayside

Any parent who’s busy chauffeuring multiple kids to different activities after school knows how tempting fast food can become. Fast food, however, leads to less healthy food choices. French fries and hamburgers — the staple combo in most fast-food joints — cannot help your child thrive nutritionally.

When families are overscheduled, they tend to go for easy and quick meals. When rushed, many of us make poor food choices because we aren’t taking the time to think about a meal’s nutritional value and a balanced diet for our children.

5. Family Mealtimes Become a Thing of the Past

When we are taking our kids to sports and other extra-curricular activities that fall during dinnertime, the family often misses out on sharing a meal at home.

This is true in our own home. There are certain nights of the week that we have practices, and so we either eat together early (if possible) or eat separately, depending on what our schedules allow.

There is so much value in having family dinners. It provides an opportunity for family members to discuss their day, including their work and school activities. It is a time when technology is set aside so that everyone can truly focus on communicating with one another and catching up on what is happening in each other’s lives. When a kid’s activities are scheduled every evening, then that family time at the dining table gets lost. Dinnertime becomes a thing of the past as we overschedule kids and ourselves.

Try learning more about family time here: How to Maximize Family Time? 13 Simple Ways You Can Try Immediately.

Solution

Assess our schedule during the week to ensure that there’s always time for dinner with the family. Make it a point to establish a dinnertime schedule for the evenings that you do not have prior engagements scheduled. Remember: the time that you have with your kids under your roof is fleeting. Before long, they will be grownups and start living on their own. You need not dismiss or minimize the opportunity to bond with your children over meals.

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Having family mealtimes also allows you to make excellent food choices. This way, parents can create balanced and healthy meals and teach their children about the importance of eating good food for their bodies.

How to Turn Things Around?

1. Fix the Displaced Ambitions

Parents with overscheduled kids often mean well. They want their children to succeed, so they give them every chance to make it happen. They sign them up for various lessons, sports, and activities that may help the kids find success in life.

In other cases, the parent probably didn’t get such opportunities when they were young and felt that they missed out on many things. Hence, they provide those missed opportunities to their kids during their own childhood.

Carla is an example of such a parent. Carla always wanted to take dance and ballet classes as a child. She heard her friends talk about dance classes and performances, and they would even bring recital photos to school, showing their beautiful, detailed costumes. Carla wanted to be in those dance classes and learn ballet and have the opportunity to perform in a beautiful costume in front of an audience. Unfortunately, her family could not afford to give her that opportunity.

When Carla gave birth to a baby girl, she had visions of her little one growing big enough to take dance, ballet, and even tap classes someday. She was looking forward to dressing her daughter in dance costumes and watching her take lessons and eventually performing in recitals. When Carla’s daughter Anna was old enough to enroll at a dance class at four years old, she was thrilled. However, after a few months, it became clear that Anna was not enjoying these classes. She would cry before every lesson, begging Carla to let her stay home and not go to class. Her daughter had no interest in learning to dance.

In truth, it happens to many parents. They would enroll their kid in an activity that they wanted to do as a child but never got to try. Unfortunately, a parent’s interest is not always the same as that of their kids’. The child may humor mom or dad for some time and do the activity out of compliance. But if the child does not enjoy it anymore, they will eventually make things clear to their parents.

Parents should listen to their children. If the activity is something that they do not enjoy doing, ask the children what they think they would like to do, and then eliminate activities that they are not into. Similarly, teach them commitment by finishing a program, but don’t enroll them again in the same class if they absolutely do not want to do it.

Let the kids try different activities at a young age. Sometimes they don’t know if they like something until they try it out.

2. Try Clinics of Camps Before Committing

Don’t enroll your child in three sports at the same time to see which one they like or excel at. Doing so will make your kid overscheduled. Instead, you can use the summer break or preseason camps or clinics to try a variety of activities they are interested in.

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As an example, all three of my children said that they wanted to do lacrosse. We had already tried soccer, and it was not successful for two out of three of them. They would rather chase butterflies down the field or play tag than actually participate in their games. Therefore, before committing to lacrosse and spending a great deal of money on their gear, I signed them up for a sample clinic. It was a one-day program that intended to expose children to the sport and see if they would perhaps enjoy playing it. I was surprised to find that the three kids enjoyed lacrosse, so we signed up for the season. It was nice to be able to see them try out the sport in a clinic before committing to an entire season.

Most towns and cities have parks and recreation department. This is often a good place to check for clinics and camps for various activities. Our local department even offers art and dance classes. Most of them meet between two and four times total, so the children can get some exposure to the activity before signing them up at a private facility for a more long-term commitment.

3. Take an Inventory of Your Weekly Activities

Often, we do an activity without reflecting on how much we are already committed to doing each week. Before we commit to any more activities, we must be willing to look at everything that each family member does. Every child’s commitment is another responsibility for the parent as well. Parents must take children to and from each practice, so you need to consider the drive time for any activity.

For instance, if each of my three kids signed up for three different activities each week, I would be running myself ragged. Three activities for three kids means taking them to nine activities during the week. That doesn’t include the games that will likely be scheduled on the weekends. Three activities for every child, therefore, is too much for our family.

If some practices overlap on the schedule, then you need two parents or responsible adults to transport the children to different locations. Before you sign them up for multiple activities, you need to factor downtime, stress levels, and your ability to take them to each activity in the equation.

Consider the following before your kids can commit to various activities:

  • What is the time commitment for the child each week? Do they have enough energy and stamina for the activities? Do they get enough downtime daily to prevent burnout?
  • Is practice time required outside of their scheduled team practices and games?
  • How long is the travel time for you as a parent, along with wait time during practices? Do you have time allowances for these activities in your own schedule?
  • Does the activity time conflict with other activities on the schedule? Will it eliminate family dinners on a regular basis?
  • Does the child really want to do the activity?
  • What is the motivation for signing up for the activity?
  • Is this activity or commitment going to cause a great deal of stress on the child or other family members?

Check out these time-management tips for parents: 10 Time Management Tips Every Busy Parent Needs to Know.

Get The Kids Active and Involved!

Despite everything, it does not mean that you shouldn’t sign your child up for different activities like sports, music, dance, karate, etc. They are all great activities that can help children develop a variety of valuable life skills. The goal is to enroll them in things that they genuinely enjoy and avoid overscheduling kids by not letting them sign up for too many activities at a time.

More Tips for Scheduling Kids’ Activities

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

Reference

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