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How Will I Know When My Water Breaks

Updated on August 19, 2014

Pregnancy comes with a whole world of questions and concerns. Many of them revolve around labor and the things that will happen as you get closer to having your baby. With many different stories out there the question can be asked, "How will I know when my water breaks?"

"Water Breaks" What Does It Mean

Most of us know that water doesn't break, however this is a term consistently used to describe the breaking of the membranes that protect a baby while it is in his or her mom during pregnancy. The term water breaking is used because once these membranes have broken the amniotic fluid that fills the uterus begins to drain often causing a wet mess.

My Story

My story is a little unique. I had spent the night in the hospital with contractions. The doctors decided it wasn't real labor and then sent me home with a sleeping pill. They said that I would go to sleep and when I woke up the contractions would probably be gone. I took the pill, jumped in the shower, and then sat down to go to the bathroom. It was then that it felt like I was squirting. This was my water. I got up and went to wake my husband up and while talking to him I felt more of the "water" splash down my legs. Then I went to the living room to talk to my sisters-in-law and had more splash down my legs.

Common Signs of Water Breaking

Most women won't have their water break until after they have started having contractions and are part way into labor. However, 13-20% of women will have their water break before they start having contractions.

  • Gushing is one common sign of water breaking. This isn't always the case, but it often is.
  • Large amounts of fluid trickling from the vaginal area.
  • Very wet panties upon waking up.
  • You are wetting a pad consistantly and don't think that it is urine.

What If I Don't Know?

Not every woman knows right away. If you aren't in labor or you have problems with a leaking bladder it becomes harder to recognize the signs of your water breaking. First, don't feel odd if you think you might have broken your water, but you aren't sure. Instead, go to a bathroom and check your underwear. If you can, change your underwear or add a pad. Then go home and lay down for about a half an hour. During that time try to relax. After about half an hour get up and go to the bathroom. If your underwear or pad is wet again then check its color. Is it dark or clear (or almost clear)? If it is clear it is probably amniotic fluid. Urine usually has a color. Smell it. If it smells like bleach it is probably amniotic fluid, but if it smells like urine it is probably urine. If you still don't know then give your doctor a call. He or she will either have you come into the office for a test or send you to the hospital.

My Water Broke-Now What?

If you are 36 weeks or less pregnant then call your doctor right away. Your water breaking could mean that you are going into early labor and your doctor will need to give you instructions.

If you are 37 weeks or more than you are full term and most likely going to have a baby. You should go to the hospital delivery center (called different things in different hospitals). They will give you an exam, check your progress, and take care of your needs.

If you are in active labor and feel like you are having a bowel movement or that there is a lot of pressure between your legs you should call 911 as the baby could be coming faster than you have time to get to the hospital.

You shouldn't drive while having painful contractions, either have someone drive you or call for an ambulance.

Laugh and Learn About Childbirth
Laugh and Learn About Childbirth

Pregnancy brings with it a lot of questions about the changes that are going on in your body. However, it also brings a lot of questions about giving birth and the events associated with those final hours before the baby arrives. Take a humorous moment to learn what you need to know!


Remember Not to Worry

There are plenty of things that cause a pregnant mom to worry, especially first time moms. However, try to keep the worrying to a minimum. Your water will most likely break after you have started labor and are either getting ready to go to the hospital or are at the hospital!


Submit a Comment
  • Kim M Gregory profile image

    Kim Morgan Gregory 

    7 years ago from The Coast of The South Carolina Lowcountry

    Trust me you'll know when you water breaks! No one wants a dry labor; it's dangerous. Pay attention and listen to your doctors' recommendations... And by the way, children are wonderful!

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Vishakha...I hope all is well with yours and by this time that you have a baby to hold!

    I just wanted to comment a bit about your experiences. Due dates are really complicated. They are based on the idea that everyone has the same length of pregnancy. With animals we commonly consider gestation periods to be lengths of time. The due date method isn't as accurate as the window of time method. So, while you are ready and can't wait to have a baby, he or she is likely going to come soon, but in their own timing.

    As long as you aren't in pain, having hard contractions, your water hasn't broke, or it doesn't feel like anything is wrong then you don't have to worry. If you are worried and can't get past it, feel free to contact your doctor. That is what he or she is there for!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    My due date is tommorrow but i have no signs of water breaking .. all i have is minor cramps and some contractions. Not sure when my baby plans to see me.. m a little impatient now wondering what's happening to me...

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago

    @sophiedrabble...I hope all is well. I know your post was two days ago, so I hope you have talked with your doctor. It sounds like you are in labor. This can happen before your water breaks. It also sounds like things are progressing pretty fast if you are feeling the urge to push. Standard advice is to call your doctor and follow his or her directions. If you don't know your doctor's number than you should go to the hospital or birthing center.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    am 32 weeks and 4 days gone

    am having sharp pains and feel the urge to push

    but nothing is happening. Any advice

  • aidenofthetower profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago 29 weeks you should call your doctor and talk with them right away. If you don't have his or her number then head to the hospital and explain your situation. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Your doctor and other medical professionals will know what to do.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hey im 29weeks pregnant and my water has jst broke! Im scared because it was only a small amount of liquid! Help! I dont know what to think or say

  • milenaamr profile image


    8 years ago

    Nice hub. I like your topic. One of the most BIG questions pregnant woman could ask. I believe that it is our responsibility ones being on that road to share our experience and knowledge with the ones coming on the way.Pregnancy is wonderful but full of new responsibility and it is good to be well inform. Thanks

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    This is a good article. When i was 5 days from my due date, and my water broke. this was my first child but i was positive that it was that. I was in that 15-20 % of mothers whose water breaks before going into labor. It took me another 20 hours to have my daughetr. She is now an amazing 6 month.

  • Jody Lynn1981 profile image

    Jody Lynn1981 

    8 years ago

    There is no question about it when your water breaks you will not have to wonder if it has happened. I was in labor for 20 hours and the hospital was getting ready to send me home because my water had not broke yet.

    I thought they were crazy to send me home but as I was getting ready to leave it happened and it was like I had just popped a bunch of water balloons under my gown and I just stood there for what felt like an hour. It was my first child so I really did not know what to expect.

    When you here about your water breaking I figured it would be a very small amount of liquid and that was not the case. I was scared and thought something was wrong but luckily for me my husband kept me calm and said that it was a normal amount and everything was good.

    So bottom line when it happens you won't question it. Thanks everyone for your time

  • Ibizabird profile image


    9 years ago from Ibiza, Spain

    I have a 7 week old baby girl and was petrified of my waters breaking in public!! They actually broke when I was 5cm dilated in hospital and boy did they go with a pop, I REALLY knew they had broken =)

  • Sunnyglitter profile image


    9 years ago from Cyberspace

    I had a c-section with my daughter, and I'm terrified of going into natural labor with my son. I'm worried I won't know what to do or expect.

  • PyroDragon profile image


    9 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

    This explains it very well. I was 38 weeks when my water broke and that was before I had contractions. It was just a torrent of liquid. My bed was soaked, the floor was soaked. I had to sit on the toilet until the ambulance arrived. I hope spleswar's wife had a good birth and there was no complications. Unlike mine.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Thanks for a decent article that explains things well and tells you what to do in a non medically confusing way. I wish I had read this before I read a bunch of other stuff...I could have saved some time.

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    This is really very informative articl. My wife is pregnant. She came to know the things which she was afraid. This article has given her good caution about what she will have to observe for after one month. Thanks for posting this.


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