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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 March 13, 2019

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

What Makes A Great Place to Work Whilst Pregnant

Among women who had their first child in the early 1960s, just 44% worked at all during pregnancy. The latest figures show that 66% of mothers who gave birth to their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during their pregnancy.[1]  It also showed that about eight-in-ten pregnant workers (82%) continued in the workplace until within one month of their first birth which has vastly increased from 35%. It is clear to see form the statical trends that more women are choosing to continue working through, and late into, pregnancy.

Unlike other developed world countries, the USA does not mandate any paid leave for new mothers under federal law,[2] though some individual employers make that accommodation and it is mandated by a handful of individual states. Finding what makes a great workplace whilst pregnant can alleviate stress and provide more stability for you and your family. 

In this article, you will discover exactly the best places to work whilst pregnant.

How Difficult Is It to Work Whilst Pregnant?

Many people strive to find and attain good jobs. For pregnant women, however, that process is often especially challenging. After all, you’ll face extra obstacles that are unique to expectant mothers.

If you are pregnant and need a job, then you’re definitely not alone. You are also not alone if you’re already employed and want to find a new job that is more family-friendly. Changing jobs while pregnant is something that many women consider, especially when they realise that their current positions may not be suitable for pregnancy or offer the benefits or flexibility that they’ll soon need. 

Getting a job while pregnant may not be the easiest thing in the world to do, but it is possible.

You can look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. In addition, it’s obviously wise to consider avoiding jobs that may expose you to toxins, people with communicable illnesses, or other physical hazards.

The Pre-Natal Mamma’s Needs

During pregnancy, there are many mental and physiological changes that a woman will go through. In understanding those changes, it is more clear which types of jobs and workplaces are more suited to you as a pregnant woman. 

During pregnancy, the birth of your baby and the postnatal period, changes in the hormones in your body can have an effect on your emotions during pregnancy. These hormones and the changes can cause joy, fear, surprise and anxiety all of which can be assisted with necessary support and talking. 

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The physiological changes are more varied according to each trimester:

1st Trimester (0-13 weeks)

In the first few weeks following conception, your hormone levels change significantly. Your uterus begins to support the growth of the placenta and the fetus, your body adds to its blood supply to carry oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby, and your heart rate increases.

These changes accompany many of the pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, morning sickness, headaches, and constipation. During the first trimester, the risk of miscarriage is significant.

2nd Trimester (13 – 27 weeks)

While the discomforts of early pregnancy should ease off, there are a few new symptoms to get used to. Common complaints include leg cramps and heartburn. You might find yourself growing more of an appetite, and your weight gain will accelerate. 

3rd Trimester (28 weeks – birth)

Travel restrictions take effect during the third trimester. It’s advised that you stay in relatively close proximity to your doctor or midwife in case you go into labor early. The baby is growing bigger and stronger; the kicks can be quite powerful and your abdomen is becoming larger and heavier.

Stretch marks may develop if they haven’t earlier in the pregnancy. Braxton-Hicks contractions- which are usually perceived as painless tightening can be felt. Lower back pain is very common and there may be more pelvic pressure and with this more frequent urination. 

Swollen legs and feet are very common as are increased fatigue, interrupted sleep and a reduced ability to eat a full meal at one sitting.

4th Trimester (Post birth onwards)

Your baby’s fourth trimester starts from the moment she’s born and lasts until she is three months old. The term is used to describe a period of great change and development in your newborn, as she adjusts to her new world outside your womb. There are many adaptations, recovery and rest that you and your baby need through this trimester whether you have a natural or c-section birth.

All of these considerations need to be in mind when looking to find a great workplace whilst pregnant — whether you’re looking to ask for more support from your current workplace, find a new job or enter employment. 

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Next, let’s look at the factors that would define the opposite; somewhere you shouldn’t look to work whilst pregnant.

How to Spot The Worst Workplaces to Work Whilst Pregnant

1. Non-Negotiable Heavy Lifting

Do you have to lift, push, bend, shove, and load materials all day? If you do, many experts believe you should ask for a job reassignment or quit by the 20th week of pregnancy.

2. Toxic Environments

The list of jobs that involve dangerous substances is miles long. Consider the artist who works with paint and solvents all day, the dry cleaner who breathes in cleaning fumes, the agricultural or horticultural worker who works with pesticides, the photographer who uses toxic chemicals to develop pictures, the tollbooth attendant who breathes in car and truck exhaust, or the printer who works with lead substances.

3. Proximity to People with Communicable Illnesses

Working with or exposure to certain bacteria, viruses, or other infectious agents could increase your chances of having a miscarriage, a baby with a birth defect, or other reproductive problems.  Some infections can pass to an unborn baby during pregnancy and cause a miscarriage or birth defect. Infections like seasonal influenza (the flu) and pneumonia can cause more serious illness in pregnant women.

4. Extended Hours of Standing

Cooks, nurses, salesclerks, waiters, police officers, and others, have jobs that keep them on their feet all day. This can be difficult for a pregnant woman, but it might be downright dangerous for her unborn baby. Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of pregnancy disrupt the flow of blood.[3]

Key Factors Creating a Great Workplace whilst Pregnant

1. Flexibility

You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy — and resting during the workday can be tough. Having an employer or job that provide care and is understanding to your needs is hugely beneficial.

A compassionate and empathetic employer will understand morning sickness; they will facilitate changes in working hours to accommodate your energy and assist with the smells from the work kitchen. 

They will also enable you to remain flexible to snack as and when you want to – crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers when you feel nauseated. Nad eating small frequent meals are similarly saving you as your meal quantity decreases.

2. Compassion

More employers are learning that the idea that pregnant women are willing and necessary contributors to the economy and are capable of adding long-term value to their organizations. 

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Employers that follow good practice in maternity can improve the experience of pregnant employees and new mothers and encourage them to return to work following maternity leave.

A good relationship between a pregnant employee and her line manager is essential to the successful reintegration of the employee following maternity leave.

3. Stress Reduced

Stress on the job can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby.

To minimize workplace stress, take control. Make daily to-do lists and prioritise your tasks. Consider what you can delegate to someone else — or eliminate. 

Talk it out. Share frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend or loved one. 

Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly or imagining yourself in a calm place. Try a prenatal yoga class, as long as your health care provider says it’s OK.

4. Adaptable

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Remember those short, frequent breaks to combat fatigue? Moving around every few hours also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. 

Using an adjustable chair with good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as your weight and posture change. If your chair isn’t adjustable, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back.

Elevate your legs to decrease swelling. If you must stand for long periods of time, put one of your feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. Switch feet every so often and take frequent breaks.

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Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support or compression hose, too.

5. Financial Support

Financial strain is one of the leading causes of peri & post natal depression. Employers can support employees by offering them benefits beyond the statutory minimum, for example training mechanisms to help them cope with balancing work and family commitments. 

The employer should conduct a performance review with the employee prior to her maternity leave to boost her confidence and encourage her to consider how parenthood and work will fit together.

Key Take-Aways

If you’re working while you’re pregnant, you need to know your rights to antenatal care, maternity leave and benefits. 

If you have any worries about your health while at work, talk to your doctor, midwife or occupational health nurse. You can also talk to your employer, union representative, or someone in the personnel department (HR) where you work. 

Once you tell your employer that you’re pregnant, they should do a risk assessment with you to see if your job poses any risks to you or your baby. If there are any risks, they have to make reasonable adjustments to remove them. This can include changing your working hours. 

If you work with chemicals, lead or X-rays, or in a job with a lot of lifting, it may be illegal for you to continue to work. In this case, your employer must offer you alternative work on the same terms and conditions as your original job. If there’s no safe alternative, your employer should suspend you on full pay (give you paid leave) for as long as necessary to avoid the risk.

Look for employment opportunities that don’t require too much physical exertion and that won’t cause you much emotional stress. Also, look for jobs that come with the chance to work flexible hours, offer good medical benefits, allow you to take time off as needed, and don’t require a long commute. 

Your current employer may need to offer you different types of work or a change to your working hours. If your employer can’t get rid of the risks (for example by finding other suitable work without any reduction in pay for you), they should offer you suspension on full pay.

Featured photo credit: Alicia Petresc via unsplash.com

Reference

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