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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 May 24, 2019

How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

How to Raise a Confident Child with Grit

My husband and I facilitate a couple’s marriage and parenting group. Recently, the group discussed qualities, characteristics, and traits we wanted to see our children develop as they grow up. One term that came up that all parents seemed to upon agree as a highly valued trait was that of grit. The question from our group was:

“Can grit be taught to our children?”

The answer is, yes. Parents can help their child develop grit.

What is grit? Dr. Angela Duckworth is the top researcher on this subject and wrote the book Grit. She defines grit as “passion and perseverance for long term goals”. This new buzz word is popular in the adult realm, but what about our developing children? What if we could help our children develop grit as young children.

Grit is more crucial to success than IQ. Duckworth, through her research at Harvard, found that having grit was a better predictor for an individual’s success than IQ. This means having the smartest kid in the room doesn’t ensure any level of success in their future. They can be brilliant, but if they aren’t properly intrinsically motivated, they won’t be successful.

Grit determines long term success. If a child can’t pick themselves up and try again after a failure, then how are they going to be able to do it as adult?

What a gift it would be to our children to engage them in a manner that helps them recognize their passions, talents, and develop a persevere to purse their goals. Below are some tips on how to raise a confident child with grit.

1. Encouragement is Key

When a child wants to learn how to ride a bike, do they keep going after they fall down or do they quit after the first fall?

If they aren’t encouraged to get up and try again, and instead are coddled and told they can try again some other day, then they are being taught to play it safe.

Safe and coddled don’t exactly go hand-in-hand with building up grit. The child needs to be encouraged to try again. This can be a parent saying “you can do it, I believe in you” and “I know that even if you fall again you will try again and eventually you will get the hang of it”.

Encouragement to keep trying so that they can build up perseverance is very helpful in building a child’s confidence. This confidence is what will help them strike out and try again.

If they feel that they can’t do it or shouldn’t do it, then they won’t. The mind is a powerful thing. If a child believes that they can’t be successful in doing something, then they won’t be successful. Part of building that mentality of believing in themselves comes from encouragement from their parents, care givers, and teachers.

Cheer Them On

How many times have you heard a story of success that someone had in life that all began because someone believed in that person?

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A coach, a mom, a teacher can have a huge impact by believing in the child’s ability to be successful and voicing that encouragement to them. Words are powerful. Use them to build up a child, by telling them that they can do it even if they have try again and again.

Be their support system by being their cheerleader. Cheerleaders don’t just cheer when the team is winning. They cheer words of encouragement to keep the team going.

The same goes with children. We need to cheer for their successes, but also cheer for them to keep going and fighting the fight when life gets tough!

You Can’t Force Them

Keep in mind that you can’t force a child to keep trying. They have to do it themselves.

For example, when my daughter was learning to tie her shoes, it was a real struggle. She gave up. I couldn’t make her want to try to do it again. She had to take a break from the struggle for a few months and then try again.

She was more successful the second time around, because she had matured and her fine motor skills had improved. It would have been ridiculous for me to force her to practice tying her shoes for the three or four months in between, with tears and arguing taking place.

No, instead we took a break. She tried again later. Forcing her to learn something that she wasn’t ready to learn would have pit us against one another. That would have been a poor parenting move.

There are boundaries that parents can set though in some cases. For example, if your child begins an activity and wants to quit mid-season because they are terrible at the sport, you have the opportunity to keep them in the sport through the end of the season to show them that quitting is not an option.

Although they may not win another tennis match the rest of the season or win another swimming race all year long, finishing the commitment is important. It will help with the development of grit by teaching them to persevere through the defeat. It is character building.

If your child is great at all things all the time, they will not develop grit. They need to try things that challenge them. When they aren’t the best at something, or for that matter, the worst, it creates an opportunity for them feel real struggle. Real struggle builds real character.

2. Get Them out of Their Comfort Zone

My daughter wanted to try cheerleading this past fall. She has never done this activity in the past, nor is she particularly coordinated (sorry sweetie). For that matter, she couldn’t even do a cartwheel when cheer season began.

However, we signed up because she was so excited to become a cheerleader. I signed up to coach because there was a need for more cheer coaches. We were all-in at that point.

Once the season began, I quickly realized that cheerleading was far outside my daughter’s comfort zone. The idea of cheerleading was great in her mind. The reality of memorizing cheers and learning physical skills that were hard for her made the experience a struggle. She wanted to quit. I said to her “no, you were the one who wanted to do this, so we finish what we started.” I had to say this more than once. I don’t think anyone on the squad knew this was the case, because she kept at it.

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She kept practicing those cheers every evening. It did not come naturally to her at first, so it was uncomfortable. She always seemed to be half a beat behind the other cheerleaders, which made it very awkward and uncomfortable for her. However, letting her know that quitting mid-season was not an option made her try harder. She wanted to learn the cheers so she wouldn’t stand out on the squad as the girl who didn’t know what she is doing.

By the end of the season, she became a decent cheerleader. Not the best, but she was no longer half a beat behind the rest. She learned skills that were hard for her to conquer. Now that she felt success in achieving something that was uncomfortable and hard for her. She knows she has it in her to do that in other areas of life.

That is why it’s ok for us as parents to let our kids feel the struggle and be uncomfortable. If they don’t experience it when they are young, they will as adults, but they won’t be equipped with the perseverance and inner-strength built from years of working hard through smaller struggles as they grew up.

Allowing our children to struggle helps them build that skill of perseverance, so that they have the grit to achieve hard things in life that they really desire to accomplish.

3. Allow Them To Fail

Your child will fail at things in life. Let them. Do not swoop in and rescue your child from their personal failures. If they don’t fail, then they don’t have the opportunity to pick themselves up and try again.

If I had pulled my daughter from cheerleader once I realized that it was going to be a real struggle, she wouldn’t have experienced failure and struggle. Letting her have this small failure in life taught her lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom. She learned about the power she has within herself to try harder, to practice in order to make change happen, and to push through it even when you feel like giving up because it is embarrassing.

Failure is embarrassing. Learning to handle embarrassment is taking on a fear. When kids learn to do this at a young age, it is practice for adult life. They will experience failure as an adult. They will be better equipped to handle life’s disappointments and failures if they have learned to handle the fear of embarrassment and failure when they are young.

Practice builds up the skill. Processing and handling fear, embarrassment, and failure are skills.

If I had pulled my daughter from cheer and allowed her to quit, I would have taken from her the opportunity to learn how to process and handle the embarrassment and failure she was experiencing at each practice and games. She learned to keep trying and that practicing the skills would lessen the embarrassment and feelings of failure.

Learning the value of practice and how to preserve through the fear and failure are priceless lessons. We may want to rescue our children because we want them to be successful at the things that they do, but how will they be successful in this competitive world as adults if they are provided with only opportunities in which they succeed?

Failure is needed to learn to thrive. Success in adulthood does not come easy to children who are protected from failure because they haven’t built up the ability to persevere.

Perseverance comes when they have learned time and time again how to take the fear of embarrassment and failure head on and practice to get better.

4. Teach Them to Try Again

Encourage your child to try again. Don’t let them quit on the first try.

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Life is hard. If we quit the first time we tried at things, we would never amount to anything in life. We need to teach our children that trying again is simply part of life.

Help them to give it a go by providing encouragement and support. Offer to practice with them, provide them with tutoring or coaching if necessary — whatever it takes to get them back on the proverbial horse and trying again.

Break it Down

Sometimes failure occurs because they are trying something all at one time and they haven’t mastered the smaller components.

For example, a math student isn’t going to jump into calculus as their first high school math course. No, of course not. They build on their skills. They begin with basic math, then algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus to then they get to the calculus level.

If they are thrown into the deep end by taking on calculus before the foundation of their math skills are built, they will fail.

Help your child try again by breaking down what it is they are trying to achieve.

Going back to my cheer example… my daughter was not the best at learning the cheers when we began. It then dawned on me that we needed to break down each cheer phrase by phrase. Once we learned the phrase and movements that went with it, we could then learn the next one. Once these were learned, we could combine the phrases, practice them together, and then try to move to learn the next phrase in the cheer. It was a tedious process, but it worked.

Not all skills come easy for kids. Helping them learn the skill of breaking things down into manageable tasks is another way we teach them about grit. They are learning to build skills by persisting, practicing, and building upon previous experience, knowledge, and skills.

Grit is put into practice in childhood when they learn how to break down large tasks into smaller achievable tasks in order to build toward a greater goal.

5. Let Them Find Their Passion

Your child may be a wonderful pianist. However, if they aren’t passionate about the skill, then they likely won’t be happy or fulfilled in becoming a concert pianist.

It’s great to help your child discover their talents, but also let them discover what they are passionate about in life.

True success will come because they are passionate about the activity, not because they are the best. The best usually become that way because they are passionate first. Therefore, let your child experience a variety of activities and interests so that they can discover what they love to do.

6. Praise Their Efforts, Not the Outcome

Praising their efforts keeps them motivated and trying. If you focus on outcome, then when they fail, they will become defeated and discouraged.

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Focusing on the fact that they tried hard and pointing out specific ways that they did well in terms of effort will support them in trying again. When you make a habit of focusing on outcome, then failures are avoided at all costs, including taking risks.

Risks are needed in order to become successful. Therefore, make a habit of praising their efforts, even when the outcome is not what they had hoped and tried for, because eventually, if they keep trying their efforts will result in success.

7. Be a Model of Grit

If you are a parent or a caregiver for a child, then you are a model to that child. Children naturally look up to the adults in their life that are closest to them, especially their parents. They will look at your ability to persevere and achieve. Your grit will show.

Your children are watching. They may not know the term grit, but they will learn about working hard, not giving up, trying again after failure, and all that grit entails from your actions.

How you handle life is being watched by your children. You can work on your own grit by reading Angela Duckworth’s book Grit .

Develop a Growth Mindset

Helping your child develop a growth mindset is also helpful to your child in their development of grit. Dr. Dweck, author of Growth Mindset and researcher at Stanford, developed a theory of fixed versus growth mindset.

Basically, what it means is that if you have a fixed mindset, you will fear failure and easily give up. Someone with a growth mindset believes that their talents, skills, and abilities can be improved with hard work and learning. Parents and caregivers can help with the development of a growth mindset.

    Some of the ways that a growth mindset can be developed include:

    • Teaching your child how the brain works: neuron connections, right brain versus left brain.
    • Teach them to set goals.
    • Teach them to have a “can do” attitude.
    • Teach them to develop a strategy when they want to achieve something.
    • Teach them that mistakes are an opportunity to learn.
    • Teach them that failure is a normal part of life.
    • Teach them about self talk: Self Talk Determines Your Success

    There are a great deal of activities and materials online for helping your child develop a growth mindset including these resources below (each site contains at least some free content):

    The Bottom Line

    Grit is not just for adults, it is something we can help our children develop. Grit is more critical to success than IQ, so we should be helping our children develop this quality early in life.

    As a parent, being a model of grit, is one of the first ways to help our children become “gritty”.

    Featured photo credit: Gabriela Braga via unsplash.com

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