If you ask Viji Vijayan about her birthing experience, perhaps your first reaction to her story will be full of surprise. We don’t meet too many mothers who stay so zen when their labour begins with their water breaking.
“I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and all of a sudden my water broke. Because of the antenatal classes at Sitaram Bhartia, I knew that I should leave for the hospital soon, but I didn’t need to panic. I took a shower, got ready and then I woke up my husband so we could leave for the hospital. And everything went fine” she said.
We love telling Viji’s story at Sitaram Bhartia because she’s demonstrated beautifully what women need to do once their water breaks, also known as Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM).
The idea that your water breaking will require an emergency response is common and often leads to panic. It is normal for 20-30% of women who are full term (> 37 weeks of pregnancy) to have their water break before onset of labour.
“As long as your discharge is clear, you can take a couple of hours before you come in to the hospital, but don’t delay your visit for too long” said Dr. Anita Sabherwal, OB-GYN at Sitaram Bhartia. “If the discharge is green or brown in colour, you need to come see us right away.”
Signs of Water Breaking
- Your water breaking can feel like a gush or a trickle. “We generally tell women to see whether the fluid reaches down to their knee or their ankle to judge whether their water has broken” says Dr. Anita. If you’re lying down, it’ll feel like you’ve wet your bed.
- The flow of water generally continues for a variable amount of time and you won’t have any control over it.
- If you only see a thick, mucoid discharge with a streak of blood, also known as show, it’s a sign that your body’s preparing for labour and you don’t have to come in to the hospital. “A little bit of red is no cause to worry. But if the bleeding is similar to your menstrual bleed then you’ll need to see a doctor as soon as possible” cautions Dr. Anita.
Viji delivered a baby boy through a normal delivery after about 10 hours of labour.
If you ask her how she felt about the whole experience, she’ll have one thing to say. “I’m just glad I didn’t panic!”