How Labor Starts: Water Breaking

How Labor Starts:

2. “Water Breaking”

Sometimes it’s a slow leak.  Sometimes it’s a big gush.  Either way, it’s a sign.  And it’s a good idea to noticed what time it is when you notice this change.  Science shows us that by 18 hours after amniotic membranes rupture it’s best that a woman’s body is having a strong contraction pattern that is dilating her cervix.  By 24 hours after the time when membranes rupture, it’s best if baby has been born.  The 24 hour mark is when the rate of infection and complications, such as maternal fever and changes in baby’s heart rate, begin to increase.

Most often if labor starts with the water breaking contractions will begin, on their own without use of Pitocin, within a couple of hours.  These contractions may be a little stronger than they would’ve felt had water not broken first.  Think of the amniotic sac and the fluid within it as a shock absorber between uterus, baby, and cervix.  Still, these contractions will more than likely be mild and tolerable.  Though the goal, if you want to push baby out, is for all contractions to become bigger, longer, and closer together throughout the stages and phases of labor.

As long as this slow leak or big gush is mostly clear with small white flecks then it usually all good.  If the liquid itself is brown then call your healthcare provider.

Knowing if you are Group B Strep positive or negative is important.  Around the time of your 36 week visit your Midwife or OB/GYN will probably perform a swab test to determine whether you are a carrier or not.  Many women are and it’s a none issue.  For those who test positive as a carrier then most healthcare providers will prescribe a round of IV antibiotics after your water has broken.  After membranes have ruptured every four hours of labor you’ll receive one bag of these antibiotics.

3. Changes in Discharge

I can hear you thinking it now “Ewe! Do we have to talk about That?!”  Short answer: Yes.  Too many people don’t talk about normal bodily functions; therefore, too many people misunderstand what is normal, especially when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth.

Maybe there is no slow leak or big gush.  You may notice a change in your vaginal discharge.  It might become a watery clear, pink or brownish discharge (or even some bleeding).  This too is normal and considered to be a sign of early stages of labor.  If you experience bleeding, it’s okay, as long as you do not saturate one regular maxi-pad within one hour.  If you do, call your Midwife or Doctor.  Also give them a call if you pass a bloody clump the size of a lemon.  You’ll know if that happens, it’s rare, but every once in a while it happens.

For most women this normal change in discharge, especially with slight bleeding, happens days or weeks before strong contractions and true labor (contractions that change the cervix) begins.  This “bloody goo” as one Midwife I know calls it is what comes out as a result of the cervix thinning and possibly dilating.

Now that’s we’ve discussed water and discharge…to keep in touch, Like my Facebook page.  We’ll be talking more about other signs of how labor starts and what to do about them.

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