What happens When Your Water Breaks

Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, family physician, discusses what happens when your water breaks.

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Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, family physician, discusses what happens when your water breaks.
Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Heather Jenkins, MD, CCFP
When Your Water Breaks Video Title: What happens When Your Water Breaks
Duration: 1 minute, 41 seconds

When a woman's water breaks, what we're talking about is the sac that has been holding in the baby and the amniotic fluid has developed a leak, and now the water is streaming out, and you can see it.

And it's usually very obvious. Women get quite a large gush, and the water itself, the appearance can range from clear to lightly pink, and that's normal. Sometimes the water actually has an unusual appearance.

It can be quite red, like wine, or brown and green. And in those circumstances, that's a good situation to call your physician or your midwife. But in reality, most people call their care provider anyways, once their water breaks.

Typically, your water breaks during labor, and I would say for the majority of women, that's an expected event. For a small number of women, perhaps 10 percent, your water will break before you go into labor. And usually this heralds an early warning that your labor's going to start soon.

A common question I'm asked at the end of the pregnancy, is are there any activities that I should avoid so that my water isn't at risk of breaking. In reality, you should live your life normally. It doesn't matter what you're doing, and women are encouraged to exercise, rest, have fun, do whatever they need to do. Your water's going to break when it's ready to.

Overall, when your water breaks, you should call your doctor or your midwife, and remember that the process of making amniotic fluid is quite complicated. Your baby's not going to run out of fluid. Whatever happens, your baby's going to be fine, and if you need to come in to the hospital or go to your physician's office for a check, they will tell you to do so.

Presenter: Dr. Heather Jenkins, Family Doctor, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Family Doctor

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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