When Your Water Breaks Before Labor Begins

Posted on July 22, 2009. Filed under: Birth, PROM | Tags: , , , |

*I think that the most interesting part of this post is the comment section. Be sure to read them all but especially the two stories that are told. One is from a couple whose water broke and they waited and the other is a woman who didn’t wait very long. I find it interesting how these stories developed and how they read side by side so be sure to read all the way down. And please continue to share, we all learn so much from each other.

When Your Water Breaks Before Labor Begins

It is NOT an emergency!!! It does not mean the baby is about to slide out onto the floor in the middle of Target or that you have to call an ambulance so you can get to the hospital ASAP. This is Hollywood and cultural fear of birth and you are actually putting yourself at higher risk for infection by running straight to the hospital.

When the water breaks before the onset of labor this is called premature rupture of membranes (PROM). PROM occurs in 8-10% of term (37 weeks+) pregnancies. Of those, 90% will begin labor within 48 hours.  Unless you or your baby is in some kind of danger or you are showing signs of infection, there is no reason to speed up this process.  Many mainstream pregnancy books and most OB’s  will tell you to go straight to the hospital and what we see in movies confirms that but you actually increase your risk of infection by doing that because the first thing that happens when you arrive is usually a vaginal exam. Interestingly enough, the recommendations are to avoid digital (finger) vaginal exams but anyone who has had a hospital birth knows that this is the first thing that happens  upon admission.

Vaginal exams push bacteria up past the cervix. Fluids in the vagina flow downstream and the only way they will back track is if they are pushed back. In a hospital setting it is not uncommon to have a vaginal check hourly or even more frequently and by several different people. Every time a vaginal exam is performed the infection risk is increased.  It simply is not a beneficial procedure contrary to popular belief in our society. Even with clean hands and sterile gloves, bacteria on the external of the vagina are introduced internally. This is especially an issue for GBS+ women.  When it really comes down to it, vaginal exams tell us nothing because dilation and effacement of the cervix really are not a good indicator of when a baby will be born. I had a client who has two centimeters and 50% effaced the morning of  40 weeks and 5 days. She was not in labor that morning.  She had her baby that night. Labor can progress quickly and examining the cervix is a rough estimate at best.

Another problem with going straight to the hospital when the water breaks is that hospital policy often puts time limits on the labor. Because of the increased risk of infection due to multiple vaginal exams, many hospitals will either being speeding up labor  immediately with pitocin. Some hospitals will give the mom 12 hours for labor to spontaneously begin and a few will give the mom 24 hours.  Some doctors even begin the c section scare tactics immediately. The problem with this is that creates performance pressure and if the mom is unable  to relax, often times labor will not begin or it will stall.  Once these interventions begin, the risk of infection increases and the risk of c section increases dramatically.

There is also the myth of ‘dry birth’ that is simply  not true because the body continues to make amniotic fluid which in turn will continue to leak but by no means leaves the amniotic sac and baby dry.  Because of this ‘dry birth’ myth, women are often times told that they must lay in bed and not move around so that fluid doesn’t continue to leak out. This is counterproductive as gravity is necessary to help the baby rotate and move into the pelvis and movement helps facilitate labor.

So, what do you do if your water breaks and you are not having contractions? First, check the color. If it is clear it is normal. If it is yellowish to dark brown or green, it could be meconium and you may want to call your care provider. Otherwise,  wait.  Like I said previously, 90% will begin labor in 48 hours.  Don’t put anything into the vagina, don’t check your own cervix, don’t have sex. Try to stimulate labor. There are many things you can do to help the process along. Take a walk. Cuddle with your partner as getting touchy feely releases oxytocin, the hormone responsible for causing contractions. This is also the reason that nipple stimulation works. Nipple stimulation triggers oxytocin.Also, the use of acupressure can trigger labor. There are two pressure points on the body that help stimulate contractions.

This provides pain relief as well as uterine stimulation

This provides uterine stimulation
When using pressure points, search for the area indicated in the pictures. They will feel like a bruise when pressed. Apply steady pressure to these areas for 30 second to a minute. Alternate between the pressure points. Pay attention as these pressure points can actually hyperstimulate the uterus.
Here is a video that helps clarify how to to use acupressure for labor induction but also comfort techniques for late stage pregnancy…
Lastly, while waiting, relax. Take a warm bath, it is ok to do even if the water has broken. Get a massage. The ability to relax can help labor to begin naturally. If you are worried about infection, monitor yourself. Take your temperature and watch for foul smelling discharge from the vagina.

There have been studies done on PROM and infection risk and Henci Goer, author of  The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth, has written an article that discusses these studies and the flaws involved. I am including this study below:

When Research is Flawed:
Should Labor Be Induced Immediately
with Term Prelabor Rupture of Membranes?

by Henci Goer

Commentary on: Hannah, M. E., Ohlsson, A., Farine, D., Hewson, S. A., Hodnett, E. D., Myhr, T. L., et al. (1996). Induction of labor compared with expectant management for prelabor rupture of the membranes at term. TermPROM study group. N Engl J Med, 334(16), 1005-1010. [Abstract]

Study design and results: multicenter, multinational randomized controlled trial in developed countries of 5041 women with confirmed PROM at ≥ 37 completed weeks of gestation. Women were not in active labor, had a singleton fetus in cephalic presentation, and had no contraindication to trial participation.

Investigators randomly allocated trial participants to one of four groups: (1) immediate induction with oxytocin, (2) expectant management for 4 days before oxytocin induction or until an indication for induction developed, (3) immediate induction with prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) followed by oxytocin if necessary, or (4) expectant management for 4 days before PGE2 induction or until an indication for induction developed.

  • Selected background information [Note: These represent ranges in rates reported among the 4 study groups. No significant differences across groups were detected for any of the following:]
    • vaginal exam at trial admission: 35-39% digital, 64-67% speculum
    • number of digital vaginal exams: 49-63% had ≥ 4
    • Group B strep (GBS) status: 9-12% tested positive for GBS
    • median time to active labor in expectant groups: 16-17 h
  • Selected maternal outcomes:
    • cesarean rate: rates ranged among the 4 groups from 10-11% overall, 14-15% nulliparous women, 4-5% multiparous women
    • any sign of chorioamnionitis:
      • 4.0% induction/oxytocin vs. 8.6 % expectant/oxytocin, p < 0.001 [Absolute difference: 4.6%. Absolute difference for diagnosis based on criteria other than intrapartum fever (fever before labor, elevated white blood cell count, or foul-smelling amniotic fluid): 2.3%.]
      • 6.2% induction/prostaglandin vs. 7.8% expectant/prostaglandin. Difference did not achieve statistical significance, meaning it was likely to be due to chance.
  • Neonatal outcomes:
    • neonatal infection: rates ranged from 2-3% and were not significantly different across the 4 groups
    • stay in neonatal intensive care unit > 24 h:
      • 7% induction/oxytocin vs. 12% expectant/oxytocin, p < 0.001.
      • 9% induction/prostaglandin vs. 10% expectant/prostaglandin. Difference did not achieve statistical significance
    • antibiotics:
      • 8% induction/oxytocin vs. 14% expectant/oxytocin, p < 0.001.
      • 11% induction/prostaglandin vs. 12% expectant/prostaglandin, p = 0.003.
    • All other neonatal outcomes were similar, including, fetal distress, meconium-stained amniotic fluid, Apgar score < 7 at 1 or 5 min, cord blood pH < 7.1, need for oxygen resuscitation, jitteriness or irritability, seizures, hypotonia, abnormal level of consciousness, apnea, abnormal feeding at 48 h or more, and ventilation after resuscitation.

Problems include but are not limited to the following:

  • Failure to consider the effect of epidural analgesia on intrapartum fever confounds chorioamnionitis results. Most diagnoses of chorioamnionitis were made on the basis of intrapartum fever. At the time of the trial, the association between epidural analgesia and intrapartum fever was not widely known, and no adjustment was made for this factor. Had this been done, an excess probably would remain in the expectant group, but infection rates might have been lower in all groups.
  • Women who were colonized with GBS were not treated in labor. A secondary analysis looked at the effect of GBS status, based on vaginal swabs obtained at trial entry, on outcomes (Hannah, 1997). Calculations using that study’s data reveal that one-third of neonatal infections were in women testing positive for GBS. GBS also caused one of the four deaths in the expectant group in babies without lethal anomalies. Current standard practice—screening for GBS at the end of pregnancy and providing antibiotics in labor to those who are colonized—would have reduced, and might have eliminated neonatal infections in GBS + women, thus reducing infection rates overall, and it might have prevented the death. It is also possible that GBS status would not have been a factor or would have been less of a factor in neonatal infections were it not for women having vaginal exams at trial entry and multiple exams before delivery. (See next bullet points.)
  • Chorioamnionitis rates and possibly neonatal infection rates were confounded by multiple digital vaginal exams. Leaving aside epidural analgesia as a confounding factor in diagnosing chorioamnionitis, yet another secondary analysis reported that chorioamnionitis increased steadily with number of digital vaginal exams independent of other factors (Seaward, 1997). Compared with less than three, the odds ratio climbed from a 2-fold increase for 3 to 4 exams to a 5-fold increase with more than 8. Seaward (1998) reported in their evaluation of risk factors for neonatal infection that chorioamnionitis had the strongest independent association. The rate among infants of women with chorioamnionitis was 16%, a six-fold increase over those not experiencing chorioamnionitis.
  • Neonatal infection rates were confounded by vaginal exams at trial entry. A secondary analysis of trial data found that having a vaginal exam at trial entry increased the risk of neonatal infection by 250%, even after taking into account GBS status (Hannah, 1997). This difference is likely to be greater than appears because the analysis authors chose to combine digital and speculum exams, although only digital exams are believed to increase the risk of infection.
  • Neonatal infection rates were confounded by multiple digital vaginal exams during labor. According to another secondary analysis, the percentage of infections trended upward with the number of vaginal exams independent of other factors, including time from rupture of membranes to labor onset and length of active labor (Seaward, 1998). It rose from 2% in women with 3 to 4 exams to 5% in women with more than 8. The odds roughly doubled compared with women having fewer than 3 vaginal exams, although the difference only achieved statistical significance when 7 to 8 exams were compared with fewer than 3.

Comment: Based solely on the TermPROM trial, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends immediate induction, generally with oxytocin, for women with term PROM on the grounds that inducing labor will reduce chorioamnionitis, febrile morbidity, and neonatal antibiotic treatments without increasing cesarean rates (ACOG, 2007). The primary argument for immediate induction has always been reducing neonatal infections, which ACOG acknowledges it does not do, and, as can be seen in this deconstruction, with optimal care other benefits are likely to be smaller than currently appear.

By contrast, a Cochrane systematic review published in 2006 also evaluates term PROM management (Dare, 2006). Despite being heavily dependent on the TermPROM trial—three-quarters of the 6800 participants among the 12 trials in total come from the TermPROM trial—the reviewers reach a more tempered conclusion: “Since differences in outcomes between planned and expectant management may not be substantial, women need to be able to access the appropriate information to make an informed choice (p. 12).”

In summary, in the absence of signs of infection, expectant management remains a viable option. Nonetheless, the secondary analyses have given us a more nuanced picture. While the original trial report found no difference in neonatal infection rates between immediate induction and expectant management overall, the secondary analyses make clear that length of time between rupture and delivery matters. They also found that modifiable factors affected infection rates, which means we do not know what they would have been with optimal care.

For those choosing expectant management, the question arises of how long to wait before inducing labor if one prefers to set a limit. Consider the following: Seaward (1998) reported that time from membrane rupture to labor onset of 24-48 hours versus less than 12 hours was an independent predictor of neonatal infection. Infection rates with 24 hours or more to onset of labor were 4% versus the background 2% rate. Hannah (1996) reported that the median time to active labor, not labor onset, after membrane rupture was 16-17 hours. It therefore seems reasonable to wait about 18 hours before inducing labor. Half the group of women will have achieved active labor by this time, and, if induced, the remaining half are likely to have started labor by the 24-hour cut point.

Women with PROM at term who are GBS + constitute a special subset. The Centers for Disease Control (2002) guidelines for management of GBS + women say nothing about inducing women with ruptured membranes at term, which suggests that awaiting spontaneous labor is acceptable provided that antibiotic therapy is initiated. And given that it takes time to instill the recommended dose of antibiotics, common sense dictates that women who prefer not to wait for labor should delay induction until they have an adequate dose of antibiotics on board.

In any case, regardless of GBS status or decisions around whether or when to induce, to minimize the risk of infection, women should avoid digital vaginal exams until established in labor, and their use should be minimized during labor. Data also suggest that oxytocin is the induction agent of choice. It appears to reduce infection rates compared with PGE2 without any offsetting disadvantages.


ACOG. (2007). Premature rupture of membranes. Practice Bulletin No. 80.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2002) Prevention of perinatal group B streptococcal disease. MMWR;51(No.RR-11).

Dare, M. R., Middleton, P., Crowther, C. A., Flenady, V. J., & Varatharaju, B. (2006). Planned early birth versus expectant management (waiting) for prelabour rupture of membranes at term (37 weeks or more). Cochrane Database Syst Rev(1), CD005302.

Hannah, M. E., Ohlsson, A., Farine, D., Hewson, S. A., Hodnett, E. D., Myhr, T. L., et al. (1996). Induction of labor compared with expectant management for prelabor rupture of the membranes at term. TermPROM study group. N Engl J Med, 334(16), 1005-1010.

Hannah, M. E., Ohlsson, A., Wang, E. E., Matlow, A., Foster, G. A., Willan, A. R., et al. (1997). Maternal colonization with group b streptococcus and prelabor rupture of membranes at term: The role of induction of labor. TermPROM study group. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 177(4), 780-785.

Seaward, P. G., Hannah, M. E., Myhr, T. L., Farine, D., Ohlsson, A., Wang, E. E., et al. (1997). International multicentre term prelabor rupture of membranes study: Evaluation of predictors of clinical chorioamnionitis and postpartum fever in patients with prelabor rupture of membranes at term. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 177(5), 1024-1029.

Seaward, P. G., Hannah, M. E., Myhr, T. L., Farine, D., Ohlsson, A., Wang, E. E., et al. (1998). International multicenter term prom study: Evaluation of predictors of neonatal infection in infants born to patients with premature rupture of membranes at term. Premature rupture of the membranes. Am J Obstet Gynecol, 179(3 Pt 1), 635-639.

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275 Responses to “When Your Water Breaks Before Labor Begins”

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Excellent information!!


Awesome post! Wish I’d read it 17 months ago…

Hindsight is 20/20, I give you permission not to give yourself a hard time anymore 😉

I wish I was more informed during my first pregnancy. As soon as I felt the slightest trickle, I went right into triage. I was leaking amniotic fluid so I was admitted even though my contractions weren’t regular or strong. After a night of being poked and proded, I ended up with pitocin and an epidural, two interventions I was dead set against. Oh, and a week later I got to come back for IV antibiotics because of an uterine infection!

Aw sorry about all that Korie. What you described is very typical in a hospital birth unfortunately. Hopefully someday the care providers will learn that invasive and unnecessary interventions really do cause more harm than good.

Wonderful post! When my water broke, I went out to dinner. Contractions started about an hour later. I called my midwife, and she said to go to sleep and that she would see me in the morning. I had my baby 17 hours later with no problems and no augmentation. I wish more people realize that it is NOT an emergency!

Lea!!!I am so glad you found my blog. Congrats on your home birth! I never got to read your birth story, I will have to look for it on your blog. Thanks for stopping by!

We went to breakfast, dropped the dogs off, had lunch, went to the mall and then decided it might be time to head in. Water broke…labor did NOT want to start. It eventually did…

I was so proud of you for waiting it out. I so remember that day and your little updates.

How long before your labor actually started? I’m curious because my PMP stated that they would want labor to start within 6 hrs or they would induce.

i love the pictures of the acupressure points! great blog entry, thank you!

Thanks! I will try to find some more to add to it. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

i think a lot of people get scared that they’re waiting too long if they don’t get in when their water breaks. the docs at both practices i’ve been at while pregnant AND my high risk docs say don’t rush in if your water breaks unless you’re preterm or the fluid isn’t clear.

You are probably right April but the ones who call 911 when their water breaks and they are not having contractions, well, I guess they need a little info! The more I hear about your doc the more I want to meet him! Is he an ICAN member? He should be. I wonder if he knows Dr. Joe Tate out of Atlanta.

LOL, I think a lot of people need a little info.

…and I have no idea if he’s an ICAN member, sorry.

I have wondered if I should have gone to the hospital when my water broke. I suspected it broke on a Sunday morning with a small gush when I urinated, then nothing the rest of the day. I went to the hospital Monday morning and she was born at 3:30 in the afternoon – well after 24 hours. I always feared that I put my baby at risk because I didn’t deliver within 24 hours…

What type of infection are babies at risk for if too much time passes after the water breaks? Also, are there any long term effects from not delivering withing 24-48 hours?

In the uterus, bacterial infection may occur: 1) between maternal tissue and the fetal membranes, 2) within the fetal membranes (chorioamnionitis), 3) within the placenta, 4) within the amniotic fluid (intra-amniotic infection, amnionitis), or 5) within the umbilical cord (funitis) or 6) the fetus (Goldenberg et al. 2000). Intra-amniotic infection correlates strongly with chorioamnionitis (Romero et al. 1992c). There isn’t really a long term effect that I know of from not delivering within 48 hours, it’s the infection risk that’s the biggest concern. But like I said in the post, infection risks are very low if you aren’t having vaginal exams. There would have been signs of infection (fever, foul discharge or water, fetal heart rate issues) and you would have known that the baby was in trouble. It doesn’t sound as if your water really broke though or if it did, it resealed because a true rupture of membranes creates a continual leak. You did the right thing by waiting it out, don’t worry mama:)

Thank you for writing this. I went in immediately after my water broke and was given the c-section scare tactic within a couple of hours & agreed to pitocin after only a few hours because I was afraid. I had the worst labor experience. 6 years later, I finally have the courage to have another baby, and I am determined to make my own decisions this time–including waiting to go to the hospital until I am actually in labor!

Thank you so much for this post! I had a c-section 42 hours after my water broke — but the OBGYN started pitocin after 24 hours of labor. I never progressed past 4 but *really* felt that everything was going well before the pitocin — except I was afraid of that “chance of infection”. I haven’t been able to find any statistics on the rate of infection after the rupture of membranes until reading this post. It is a shame that I didn’t realize how low the risk was (or that is was just as risky to have a c-section). I am hoping for a VBAC with my second baby. Fingers crossed.

Hind site is 20/20 and it’s hard to learn these things sometimes and I am glad to hear that they at least gave you 24 hours before starting the pit. I now women who get it the second they walk in the door. Good luck VBACing, you can do it!

Exactly the same thing happened with me during my third pregnancy. Previous two births were normal, but third time around, I was not prepared when my water gushed early morning. I called my doc and she asked me to rush to the hospital. I was started to stay put on bed, started on pitocin and due to fetal distress, ending up with a C-sec in about 12 hours. How I wish I had done some research before rushing to the hospital!!!

Depending on the fetal distress I am super glad you were already at the hospital if you needed a crash c section ….if they did what they did to my sister…and said crash c or emergency c dependent what nurse was there when they are different, very different…crash being rude emergency like time is oxygen or time is brain function, but they toss around “emergency” c section like kids do with I love you and I hate you…I think if you tell a mom emergency (followed by anything even the alphabet song! Since mommy ‘s head is racing with very negative out come possible…when they mean unscheduled, needs done soon, butt we aren’t kicking anyone out of the or like they would they would for a true crash c-section…I really wish they paid attention to how much words do matter and there is no way a mom can hear her baby needs an emergency anything and then logically think! But fetal distress can be slight deceleration in heart beat only during contraction where they can try a different position, or mom on o2, or many things, but any fetal distress I would want to be well read with my personal obgyn, who I trust implicitly, but at the hospital incase it is that high end of distress…I really want to be a “real” mom, or more accurate a mom to a baby, for now I have been my dad’s “parent” for 20 years, (I was 16), but he had a traumatic brain accident, and then I have the kitty my dogs found 4 born that day and left, one o kept – all I bottle raised so I call him my furrbaby…but my doc and I are working on it, and I have been studying up for years now! But your post struck me, I am only 5 min from hospital, but with fetal distress that could be brain that works/one that doesn’t and I would love a home birth, but one sign of distress and I will be in the car! I am sooo glad it seems you had a healthy baby in the end, even I’d you preferred no pit, but maybe you were lead to the hospital for up coming fetal distress your intuition know about, but you didn’t…I don’t know, but I am happy for you…

I wish I would have known this with either of my births. I had nearly identical labors with both babies – water broke and then I took 10 hours or so to go into labor. With my first, there was pitocin and then an epidural. With my second – I had great Drs who worked with me and were willing to let me progress at my own pace – as long as I was progressing some (not to mention an incredible husband who coached me through). Unfortunately, even with my second, I was required to lay down until they determined that baby was down far enough his cord wouldn’t prolapse. Once I was able to move around, I went into active labor within a half hour and had my second-born within 4 hours.


Just curious, how high up was the baby when you were admitted? Cord prolapse is a concern it is pretty rare unless maybe the baby is floating (not engaged in the pelvis at all). At least they did let you up, how thoughtful! Glad it went well and fast for you, congrats!

Why is it recommended that if your water breaks and it is clear that it’s okay to stay at home and not worry about infection, but if it breaks and it’s stained with meconium that you should go to the hospital?

If you are not having vaginal exams and you are keeping yourself hydrated, how does having meconium in the water warrant going to the hospital and/or increase the chance of infection? What if your baby has passed meconium, but your water hasn’t broken? You’d have no way of knowing, so what is the difference? Wouldn’t it it be BETTER, in fact, to have the ruptured membranes so that the meconium-stained water can flow out easily and be replaced with fresh amniotic fluid? The longer my labor progressed, the clearer the fluid became.

I ask because I was stupid enough to go the hospital when my meconium-stained waters broke and I was given multiple vaginal exams (against my will), pitocin (against my will) and ended up with an unnecessary c-section (also against my will).

Everyone says I did the right thing by going to the hospital after my water broke, but I disagree. I’m looking for answers because everyone (and I mean EVERYONE!) I know justifies the actions of the doctor and cites the “danger” of ruptured membranes. If meconium-stained waters warrant pitocin (which, ironically, can cause the baby to pass even MORE meconium) and a c-section, the human race would have died out long ago. It’s infuriating.

Lorie, you make some great points. Meconium in the water is less about infection (it is actually sterile) because the water is broken and more about the potential stress that the baby is in. As a doula, I can only say ‘if it’s clear, you are fine, if there is meconium you may need to go in.’ Personally, a little meconium isn’t enough to make me go running in but that’s personally and I have to choose how I say things because I am not at liberty to give medical advice. A client has to do what she feels is best and when I have had clients water break with mec, I usually ask to look at it and tell her what I know and let her decide what she wants to do, I don’t tell her what I think she should and I don’t try to influence her decision one way or the other, I just give her the facts as I know them.

The presence of meconium indicates that the baby had a lack of oxygen at some point. Sometimes a post term baby just has to poop and there may never have been a lack of oxygen. The color and thickness of the meconium tells more about what is going on. For instance, if it is a little yellow and watery then the meconium is old and if it is improving in color (becoming more clear) then the baby is not in a state of stress. If it is green and watery it is fresh and baby could be stressing or could have just pooped. If it is particulate it is more serious as far as aspiration into the baby’s lungs is concerned. Of course, the word on the street is that this actually happens in utero so all that deep suctioning is worthless and can make it worse anyway. If it is thick and black there is probably something going on with the baby that warrants some monitoring. It really is a case by case thing but as far as deciding when to go in with mec stained water, it depends on your comfort level AND the color and thickness. For my own labor, I went in after my water broke with thick black and particulate meconium. I physically didn’t feel ready to go in but I had been having contraction for 36 hours and quite frankly seeing that kind of fluid come out is very frightening. You can read my birth story if you want to know the whole story but I did do the right thing by going in then and I was 7cm dilated. You say your fluid improved with time so your baby was probably fine. Mine didn’t. It continued to leak out like black molasses.

I have never had a client given pit just because there was meconium and the last 4 of 5 clients I had had mec staining. I am with you, it is infuriating.

I should add that I had been having contractions for 9 hours when my water broke, but I’d still like to know why you say that one may want to call the doctor with stained waters, whether labor has started or not. Thanks. 🙂

I know you wrote this a long while ago, but I am wondering how they did anything against your will? A pelvic examine is sex assault, even an iv is assault if you say no and you have the right to press league charges. A surgery, c section particularly can be charged as forced abortion, assault with deadly weapon…and did that hospital use the patient bill of rights as toilet paper?
Where I live there are 2 resent horrid things…a woman cut out a woman’s baby (mom lived only) and she is being charged her with not authorized abortion and attempted murder (give this is a woman now in the mental hospital, not a doc doing what they feel is best, but other than going home with a baby, and anesthesia, I don’t see much difference….

Another woman agreed to be a surrogate, had even done it a couple times…this baby was foot first breach, so super high risk for all kinds of things including delivery past cord, head engages, but she isn’t dilated enough, so the head pinches the cord, she still refuses surgery (earlier the bio dad had left to get an emergency order for her to have to have a c section), but still refused, said I know my body it will be fine, I don’t want surgery, even though the surrogate had agreed to consent to every procedure the baby needed…it ended horrid, dad got their with order to find out she had delivered, but the 30+ minutes with the late deceleration of the heart, and the 10-20 minutes it took to get the baby out with no surgery, dad came back to a baby on a vent, iv, feeding tube, tons of stuff and the worst parts is the bio dad and mom left not claiming the child, the gestational mom who then had rights didn’t want him either, and he died in the NCU, having never been heals, claimed, named, or anything in a week…all I want in the world is to be pregnant, have a baby, en adopt (since I won’t adopt then do fertility treatment as a “parent” (quotes since not yet but caring for the children’s best interests now) I would never want a child to see the hormones first, then the hope, then the possible disappointment, followed by depression and a repeat, or the extreme joy, but higher risk of miscarriage, so I figure that is a bigger fall with more depression and I don’t see that as fair – before explication since my sister did it the other way, she thought I should adopt first, but then she said the oddest thing…”wow you have really thought about this through and really considered many outcomes.” Well yes…we are discussing a baby I wanted since I can remember, and at 16 with no regular cycle I started thinking it will be hard for me, then 18 and 21 came, still cycles at most 2 a year, so thinking really hard and considering future options, then 25&30 came…and I got serious doc visits that just confirmed what I thought from 12, when I had one, .ext cycle at 13, so by 16 having 2, it wasn’t encouraging…so I doubt there has been more than a few days I haven’t thought about this dream, but stories like these 2 make it scarier! Then your experience obviously is more fear (but if I get to be pregnant, will be glad to have the info, but will hide that belly as long as possible!) And I will be prepared with your story and the answer info to make a better decision for me…

My wife is 37 weeks pregnant, water broke 37 hours ago but no contractions as yet. Hospital staff suggested that we wait 48 hours then they will induce the delivery. However we have already decided to wait longer, our midwife said that she’s not obliged to follow the 48-hour rule, she said a reasonable time would be 72 hours, but even there we would rather wait longer (should there not be any complications) and see. I understand the only problem could be possible infections, but how likely are they compared to when there are no leaks? My wife and I are going against all “rules” and beliefs, such as our parents’ who think doctors should decide! We would rather have nature and time take the lead. However it’s not easy in such moments, all sorts of pressures impede clear thinking. Can we wait even weeks, what to do? We need some reassuring words!
Thanks for everything
Alessia and Ermanno

Congrats on your baby! Maybe by this time something has happened. Otherwise, I would say listen to your instinct. It sounds as if your hospital is much more liberal than most and your midwife seems very supportive. If you intend on waiting, I would definitely monitor your wife’s temperature as a rise could indicate infection. Obviously don’t put anything into the vagina at this point and work on the natural ways to get oxytocin flowing and there for contractions going. I have read cased of leaks resealing and labor not actually beginning until a couple of weeks later so yes it is possible to wait that long. Of course, your midwife will have a threshold as well and the pressure will probably come down on you to induce but again, I say pay attention to the body and follow your instinct. If you do end up going in for induction, one option is to have them turn the pitocin off once contractions have been established. I know someone that did this after about two hours of pitocin and she finished out her labor completely naturally. I am sorry if I am not giving enough here, it’s just that this is such a situational and personal issue. The good thing is that statistics are on your side right now and hopefully things will get moving soon so that you don’t have the anxiety of waiting any longer. Good luck and please let us know how it goes!

It was so nice this morning to open my gmail and see your message, thanks! No contractions yet (after 62 hours), or maybe small ones, at least that’s what Alessia (my wife) thinks. The midwife came this morning, she listened to us, she was very supportive and she seems to be closer to our philosophy (wait and see) rather than that of the hospital (and our families’). We then went to hospital to do some tests (blood test, heart tracking etc) everything’s fine. It seems that there are Braxton Hicks contractions going on, which sounds good.
Then we talked to the hospital doctor who suggested induction, we were quite clear and said we’d rather wait even for weeks, unless there are good reasons to think that there are threats for mother and/or child (of course!). Apparently it’ll be unlikely that it will be a water birth as we hoped, as they will need to constantly monitor the hearbeat of the baby during the delivery, I wonder if we’ll be able to challenge this decision, but at the moment that’s not a priority. So these are the news so far, hopefully I will be able to give you more good ones in the next few hours…
Really thanks for your support Doulamama, your words have been very reassuring and strenghten our convintions that following one’s own instinct is as important as doctors’s opinions. Keep you posted

Alessia and Ermanno

I am glad the tests went well and that you still have the support of the midwife. Did they say why they would want constant monitoring? Is it because the water broke? I have had clients labor off the monitor after the water breaks and medically there isn’t really a reason to if the initial strip shows that the baby is fine. There is no such thing as ‘
dry birth’ as the body is constantly producing amniotic fluid. Be sure to keep your wife hydrated. You should be able to fight that one. Also, it is ok to labor in the water after the waters have broken, remember, fluids run downstream unless being pushed back up manually. Unfortunately, hospital policy doesn’t’ allow it a lot of times but you may be able to fight that one as well.

The first thing our midwife said when we told her about the doctor saying that it would be unlikely a water birth was “Alessia, it’s entirely up to you!”. So, yes, if there are not medical reasons we will “push” for a water birth. Why are doctor so “medical”? I mean, I know it’s their job to make things safer, however I seem to understand that inducement doesn’t really mean safer, considering that there might be issues such as no dilation hence more chances of having a c-section which brings, if I well understand, more risks than those involved if we wait longer (namely infection). I have also read that when waters don’t break the risks of infection are 0.5% against 1% if they break. Doctors confirmed this data. Not a big issue, as it seems.
Doulamama, I can’t wait for the day when Francesco will be born, you’ll be one of the first people who’ll know. Thanks always for your words of reassurance.

Alessia and Ermanno

Yeah, a half a percent wouldn’t be enough to send me running for the pitocin either. I guess for the docs it’s a liability issue. I mean, we can’t say infection never happens and when they see it and things go wrong it sticks. The difference in erring on the side of caution and defensive medicine is a fine line. Obviously if there is any sign of a problem you will go in and do whatever is recommended once you have all the information you need to make an informed decision. Until then you know what to do, you are educating yourselves, you have a midwife advising and that’s the best you can do. I wish you both the very best and look forward to reading your birth story! I hope little Francesco decides to make an appearance soon. How frequently are you in contact with your midwife? How is Alessia holding up? Remember, hydrate, no cervical checks, do your kick counts and monitor her temp!

Alessia and Ermanno,

I just thought of something else. Have you been practicing any optimal fetal positioning techniques? Do you know what position he is currently in? Maybe if the baby can get into a really good position he will decide that it is time to come out. Here is a link to an article I wrote about it…


If you have any questions or need anything, please let me know. The main thing I would be doing now if you aren’t already is pelvic tilts several times a day at least 20 reps and walking, depending on what position he is to begin with. Just racking my brain here 🙂

Take care,


Hi Amy, things are under control here. The midwife comes home everyday to check that everything is fine. Today we even had a Senior Midwife who’s added a few lines in our birth planning, saying that she has discussed with us the pros and cons of water birth and that she advises that at present she doesn’t see any problem with that, and that if Alessia wants to do it they should let her decide, unless there are medical reasons. Apparently the hospital will put less resistances when they’ll read this declaration. I’m very impressed with the service here, so different from Italy (we live in the UK, Cambridge) where at this stage we would probably already have the baby, 99% a c-section (percentages are very high there, most mothers I know had their belly cut!! Unbelievable.)

As you suggested, we check Alessia’s temperature 3-4 times a day, she always sleeps on her left side, and the baby is perfectly positioned, head down (apparently he’s gone down quite a lot in these last 3 days) and bottom on Alessia’s left side. So, nothing to worry about, hope it’ll stay like this till the end. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not worried at all which helps keeping Alessia less worried, she’s obviously a little bit more concerned and anxious, but in the norm of any mother expecting a baby 🙂

You’ll certainly hear from me again, I really can’t stop thanking you, you’re such a lovely person. I’ll keep you posted all the very best

Alessia and Ermanno

Hi Alessia & Ermanno,

I just wanted to offer my support to you all! Amy is a wonderful resource. 🙂 I wish I had learned what to do when your water breaks BEFORE mine did – I followed dr’s instructions and rushed to the hospital, was induced, and 17 hours later ended up with a c-section. She is right that water can reseal and I believe that happened with mine – although my water had broken that morning the dr broke it “again” that night – so it either resealed or I had two bags of water. Anyway, just sending lots of labor dust and positive energy your way! Hope to hear good news soon!!

Good day mam doulamama… My wife now is 36weeks turning to 37weeks pregnant but theres some water leaking but only small..clear water no smell…whats should i do…do i need to call a doctor or just observed 1st what happen? as of now no contraction yet…just as normal only…the only thing is water leaking clear water….plss advice mam, i dont know what to do…1st baby…
Thnx and more power to you

Sounds like he’s in the perfect position and you are doing everything right.

I figured you weren’t in the US and I assumed you were Italian 🙂 I am familiar with the UKs maternity care and have read the stats for Italy. You are right, the c section rate is very high there which has always surprised me to be honest.

Before we moved to South Korea we lived in Germany and traveled a good bit of Europe spending two weeks in Italy. We are hoping to move back to Germany from here so I am really looking forward to spending more time in Italy, beautiful country and people. That said, I am glad for you that you are in the UK. The maternity care there is much more evidence based than the US system (I am American) and apparently the Italian system and the luxury of having home visits from midwives does add an element of calm since you do not have to leave the house every day. I am glad for you that the senior midwife is supporting you, that’s wonderful.

You are doing a great job of supporting Alessia, I am sure it is making a huge difference in her nerves right now! Keep up the good work dad 🙂

As always, best of luck!


Hope things are going well, Alessia and Ermanno! Enjoy baby’s birth!

First of all a big thank you to all of those who have supported us. A special thanks, of course, to Amy who has given us the strength and motivation to keep going despite the various pressures around us for an induction after Alessia’s waters broke with no signs of labour….until yesterday (3 weeks later)!!! Francesco was born today, 13th October (the due date, how punctual) at 7.48am UK time, after a long, painful (for mum, baby was absolutely fine) and natural labour, without inductions of any sort. We struggled until the end, we repeadetly refused induction and antibiotics as advised up to 3 hours before birth. So far so good, hope things will stay like this.

Alessia is now fine, even though she had to undergo a post-delivery intervention as there were two internal tears. We were somewhat reluctant to do it, I more than Alessia, there seemed not to be any convicing medical evidence to suggest that this was strictly necessary, but to be honest refusing that, especially without having done any research on the the subject as we did in the case of the PROM, might have been a bit too “arrogant” and we didn’t really feel like challenging the fate any further.

For all of those who find themselves in such a similar situation, with PROM and no labour, I would suggest that they read as much as they can about pros and cons, truths and half-truths about inducing labour for risks of infection. Start with Amy’s article, then look elsewhere online, there’s a lot of interesting information out there.

Thanks again for everything

Alessia and Ermanno

Congratulations Alessia & Ermanno!! Welcome Francesco! I’m so happy that your story had a perfect ending. Thank you for encouraging the rest of us to be patient and wait for labor to take its natural course. I’m expecting #2 in May, and planning to avoid a repeat of my first birth disaster. 🙂

Congratulations Alessia and Ermanno!!! I am so happy everything turned out well and little Francesco is finally here!! I think there were people on every continent waiting anxiously to hear of his birth. 🙂 I am so glad you were able to let nature take its course and had a birth healthy for both mom and baby. What wonderful news!! I hope Alessia heals quickly and is feeling great soon!! Again, congrats!! 🙂

Wow! Congratulations! It is amazing that you were able to hold out for three weeks. Glad things turned out well for you!

Congrats Alessia and Ermanno! I am so happy for you that everything went the way you wanted! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. So many people need to see what the body is capable of and made of and your story is truly an example of how the body is made to work and how educating yourselves on the processes and potential scenarios can give you the strength to advocate for yourself. I am so happy for you that you had the support of competent midwives to help you stand up for yourselves.

Welcome to the world little Francesco! Alessia, I hope you are feeling well. Ermanno, thank you for being a strong partner and birth advocate for Alessia, all mother’s should have that in a partner. For whatever part I played in it for you, you are very welcome. I am glad to have been able to offer whatever support I could from a distance.

Congrats again!


Ermanno, Allessia, and Francesco, thank you all for not only going against the grain, defying the potential risk and having a perfect birth, but thank you thank you for putting it up on the internet as you did. My girlfriend, Jaynene, and i are due in four days. Her water broke 3 days ago. We have been told by everyone and their mother to go to hospital for an induction, but we really wanted to have a home birth for the baby and for ourselves. We just didn’t know how to gauge this risk of infection. Your story gives us strength to do what we were feeling we should do, which is stick to our plan and let nature take its course. Since Jaynene is 40 weeks, we don’t even actually have PROM, but the contractions just havn’t started. I’m sure they will soon. This cannot be so unnormal. Thank you to you Doullamama for your article and this place to have our questions answered. Thanks also to your fans for showing us we’re not the only ones. This was very strengthening. ~Colby

Hi Colby, I am glad you were able to find the article and support you are looking for. Are you using a midwife for you homebirth? Was does she have to say about everything? Are you monitoring Jaynene for infection? And as the article said be sure not to put anything into the vagina. I wish you two the best of luck, please keep us updated on your progress. I hope that everything goes well and that you have the perfect birth, happy mom and healthy baby. Amy


I wanted to let you know that I replied but you may not have gotten the notice as it was further down the comment section. Please scroll down to find it.


Have there been ANY well-done studies of infection risk after the water breaking? I can’t find one–it just seems to be an article of faith. My daughter’s water broke this morning. It’s nice and clear and salty-smelling. She called her doula, who said not to worry about it and not to call the doc–she said, as you do, that he would just want her to come in to be checked out, and THAT would raise the infection risk.

Aside from the personal high of the event to come, I’m fascinated by how little hard research there is in the practice of obstetrics. It’s almost as if each new OB learns by doing, the way docs learned how to do surgery in the 19th century by watching how the old hands did it whether it was right or not.

Hi Grandap-to-be,

Hopefully by the time you get this response you will be a grandpa already! Sorry for the dleay, I am in South Korea so we have a big time difference here.

There have been studies on PROM (premature rupture of membranes) and infection risks but there are issues with the studies and Henci Goer (author of The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth) has broken it down and explained these issues much better than I ever could. Here is a link to the study and Goer’s analysis and I have revised my article to include the same information…,.,


The thing is, is that there have been many studies on many topics in obstetrics but as Goer points out, there are flaws or as many of us know from our on experience that evidence based maternity care is not being practiced. The reasons for this are debatable and range from what you suggest (doing what’s always been done just because) to fear of lawsuits to God complexes to maternal request.

That said, congrats to you and your family. Good for your daughter for hiring a doula, she has reduced many risks (c section, epidural request, etc) already. I hope the birth and baby and mom are all great!

Update: My grandson Alex was born Oct. 1. The poor little guy is colicky, making his mom crazy for lack of sleep, but his pediatrician says he’s doing fine.

About 12 hours after our daughter’s water broke, she got nervous and went to the hospital. She was at 8-10cm. She was put on one of the cervix softeners, which didn’t accomplish anything. Then an epidural and pitocin. Apparently the baby’s head was just enough out of position that she couldn’t push him out–her wonderful nurse put her in different positions and tried to manipulate the baby into a better position, but no go. After 19 hours of pitocin, our daughter had nothing left in the tank, and Alex was delivered by C-section. She was so disappointed that her labor hadn’t gone the way she wanted.

But when we saw her an hour later, with her newborn on her chest, it was pretty clear that none of that mattered.

Now if he could just shake off the gassiness… He’s so uncomfortable. (But cute as heck.)

Congratulations on the birth of your grandson, Grandpa! It is very interesting to see these two stories side-by-side. It illustrates the difference perfectly. With all the pressure for interventions, it is really hard to resist, especially for your first baby.


You are so right about seeing these two stories side by side.

It is very hard to resist interventions when pressured even if it doesn’t really feel like pressure as much as suggestions on what should happen next. I think so many times we feel as if what is routine is what is normal and what is normal must be the best course of action, especially when the challenge of labor in and of itself is included.

I just wish that the system would allow and suggest and help women wait and get their labors moving. Monitor for infection, use natural induction methods to kick start labor, support them through natural labor, help the move and provide comfort measures, etc, rather than going straight for the interventions. Cultural fear of birth is also a major obstacle. On the flip side, it is pretty amazing to see what strong advocacy can do and holding out for three weeks is far beyond the strength of most people, even the ones that are confident and sure. It’s the other side of the extreme and statistically, this is pretty rare these days I would imagine.

Again, perfect illustrations all around.

Congrats Grandpa! I am sorry that her birth didn’t go the way she planned but happy that everyone is doing well. I hope that your daughter is healing well both physically and emotionally. Having that baby to hold after a long labor ending in a c section does most certainly help make everything right.

As the mother of one who was also considered colicky, I feel her pain right now. I hope he settles soon and that everyone is getting some rest.

Thank you for sharing her story with us, there is something to learn form every birth experience. Enjoy your grandson!


Thanks for replying Doulamama,
Seriously no sooner did we read through this whole article and ensueing conversation than Jaynene went into labor – literally minutes after we read about Ermanno’s family we were high fiving each other about Francesco’s eventual perfect birth and the contractions just kicked in about every ten minutes or so. I seriously look at it as his story gave us the strength to go another week or two if need be, so whoever or whatever was testing our resolve to have the birth the way we wanted it gave in and let us get started. 18 hours later, on December 23 at 6:19 PM Frida Ophelia Friend was born healthy, crying, and kicking.

To answer your question, we had a midwife for prenatal care but we did not have one at the birth, it was just Jaynene and I…and Frida. Our Midwife was so cool and encouraging but even she said we should induce, it had already been over 24 hours after the water broke by the time we saw her. To be accurate she did say she was legally responsible to tell us the official medical recommendation, but she did tell us an encouraging story about her grandmother whose water broke with her father 6 weeks early and she delivered fine. She let us know the risks and what not to do. We were looking for more reinforcement for our resolve when we stumbled across this site.
In any case, the birth was difficult. Jaynene champed it out with painful back labor. It was a little unnerving not knowing if we were doing it all right. Another pair of hands would also have been good at the defining moment as well, but all in all it was an experience of a lifetime. When the baby finally came out, she came out in a rush whereas I thought we were going to pause after the head and then push the shoulders out. So I managed to grab her quick and set her lightly down on the cushy blankets we had prepared. But then I couldn’t get a handle on her b/c she was so so so slippery (wet flopping fish have nothing on newborn babies – “dry birth” is definately a myth in my opinion). She slipped away from me about four times. The cord was also pretty short, long enough, but shorter than I imagined. It was a hectic moment. By the time I coralled her I forgot what to do. Then I remembered to clear her nasal passages. I had planned to wrap her in a towel, but on a little hat, and calmly hand her to Jaynene and say, “here is our new baby…blank,” but I just handed her through to Jaynene (she was on all fours). Jaynene said, “what is it?” I said, “I forgot to look!” She said, “its a little girl.” We delivered the placenta a few minutes later. I tied off and cut the cord after it had gone limp. Ba Da Bing in bed by 9:30. Not quite Ba Da Bing, really quite exhausting actually, but nothing quite like it all the same.

Wow Colby!! Congrats! For some reason I felt like you guys were going unassisted, that’s why I asked. Thanks for sharing the birth story, it sounds like it was a pretty intense and amazing experience. I am so happy for you that everything went so well. It really does sound like all Jaynene needed to hear was ‘it’s ok’ and she was able to relax enough for labor to begin. Or babies come when babies are ready 😉 Either way, I am so glad that it happened and that you didn’t have to worry over when it would happen for too long. I am glad you found the information you were looking for and that it gave you the reassurance that you needed. Welcome to the world little Frida! I hope Jaynene is recovering well. Take care!

Hi Colby and Jaynene, congrats on your baby. I’m sitting next to Alessia who’s breastfeeding little Francesco. About 3 months have gone since I first wrote here, difficult moments they were, we’re happy that we made those choices then, and that our experience was somehow helpful to other people like you. Unfortunately there are many families out there who are in the same situation and they lack of the right support to get on with a natural birth. After this experience, I’ve heard of friends of friends who had similar experiences and chose to shorten the time, scared as they were by the words of families and doctors.

As far as we are concerned, our experience made us stronger, and we faced pretty well all the other difficulties that followed (for example breastfeeding problems, baby couldn’t latch on well and as result he was growing just a few grams every week). So far, our best choices have always been those that were closer to the course of nature, despite the usual pressures (especially our families’) pushing for more practical, medicalised and artificial alternatives (baby’s bottle, artificial milk etc). Well, Francesco is now growing healthily and happily, and once again we are happy that we followed our instinct (altough based on a lot of research).

We hope that more and more people will read and share their experiences, and enrich, in so doing, the relatively little information available on PROM and the like. Thanks again to Amy who’s doing a wonderful service to the parents-to-be, as it happened with us. All the very best to you all, and a very happy 2010 with your little ones.

Alessia and Ermanno

Hi Ermanno,

Glad to hear Francesco is doing well. We had quite a bit of breastfeeding trouble ourselves. Didn’t get milk until 6 days postpartum, poor latch, full on breast refusal, it’s frustrating as you know and to say the least. I am glad Alessia was able to stick it out, the pressures are intense. I too stuck it out and am still nursing my son who will be two in April. The benefits are obvious, he’s never been sick, he is growing very well and for us it helped with bonding after our traumatic birth. Rarely is it ever the case that a baby or mother cannot truly breastfeed. There are often difficulties though and support and knowledge are invaluable in these cases.

Thanks again for sharing your story and for the update!

Take care,


first great article very informative!
My question is, how do I know if my water really has broken? I was sitting at the bathroom and I’m not sure if what I felt while urinating was a small gush of fluid or my bladder…it felt like a pop, like a small gentle balloon bursting but my dr thinks its my bladder playing tricks on me and could be the baby too… I’m 37 weeks pregnant and last exam he did’t tell me if I was dilated or anything just that the baby’s head was very very low and to expect this baby early.

Hi Jen,

I am sorry to take so long to get back to you. I am in South Korea so my nights and days are backwards from the western world, fi that’s where you are. Generally when the water breaks there is a gush or pop or trickle. The way you know it was really your water is if it continues to leak. The bag can reseal and often does if left alone. Really it’s a wait and see thing. I don’t want to disappoint you but I also want you to know that just because a baby is low doesn’t mean they will be early or born soon. There really is no true way to know when a baby will be born, even dilation can’t tell us that. I just want you to have the information so you aren’t impatiently waiting on nothing to happen. That said, I do hope that things move along well for you. Have you been having a trickle of fluid since you posted?


Thank you for the reply, no unfortunately it’s stopped. I think regardless of what my doctor says we would be impatiently waiting hehe. My braxton hicks have been coming along nicely, if you can call them nice. Becoming more intense and frequent but still irregular, no patterns yet.

Thanks for this post. With my first pregnancy I got out of the backseat of the car, quite cramped, and pop went my membranes. At first I thought something horrible happened but I saw it was just clear water, I knew what happened. Of course this alarmed me so we went back home 25 mins away to get my bags and ring the Delivery Suite to find out for sure what I was supposed to do. They said come in. Fortunately I didn’t receive any vaginal exams. But we live 1 hr from the hospital. They would have sent us home if we were closer but they kept me in. My water continued to gush and gush. Anyhow my contractions started very slowly on the way home to get my bag etc. It was Sunday morning about 10am when it first happened. My contractions through Sunday night were bearable, I would sleep, wake for the contraction and then go right back to sleep. This was pretty much how it was through the day. There were a few interuptions that made them stop for periods of time. But about dinner time things were getting a bit more intense, took a shower, ate dinner, threw it up, and then from that point til 9pm I was only coping with the help of two support people rubbing my hands through the contractions (my dad’s brilliant idea!) At 9pm my people were going have to leave because I was not in the Delivery Suite, but the ward where visitors had to leave at 9pm. So I was desperate to be transferred back to delivery where they could stay with me. The Midwife then did the very first vaginal exam to see how I was going. As this was the only way they would take me… they didn’t think my contractions were regular enough to warrant being in delivery otherwise… which was a joke because they seemed pretty regular to me. Anyhow because I was 3cm dilated they were happy for me to go to delivery. This transfer was another interruption to my contractions, took an hour before they started again. Finally at 1:37am Tues she was born! What gets me is that the Drs on Monday said that if I didn’t go into active labor by the next day they’d have to induce me… well looking back that seem odd considering I was in labor, just not what they consider progressive labor. I am thankful they didn’t do any really unneccesary vaginal exams. I was happy with the one they did because it got me where I really needed to be to finish the job! I now know it is better to stay home as long as possible as long as the water is clear etc. I am prepared this time with plenty of pads if my water does break ahead of time! My biggest concern is how quickly I will progress with such distance from the hospital. But I also must remember is that this hour drive will interrupt my progress so shouldn’t worry to much I am sure I will know when I need to leave! Again I really appreciate this post because it makes me feel less urgent about going to the hospital at the drop of a hat!

Hi Mariah, thanks for sharing your story. Your midwives were much more liberal that many US hospital mw’s would have been. It sounds like everything went well for you (congrats!) and I am glad you can relax a little bit for next time. You are right, changing locations does slow labor down, so don’t worry too much about that hour drive. WE are two hours away from the Army hospital and there are women who make it in plenty of time all the time.

What if someone was tested for group B strep though? Wouldn’t going to the hospital right away be better then waiting due to the risk of transferring it to the baby?
doulamama what is your take on this? I read that if one’s water breaks and they are + for group B that they should be induced if they don’t deliver within 18-24hrs.
Also yeah we still haven’t delivered yet, in fact my cervix has become even more posterior then previously. My dr’s ‘guess’ that it would happen 2 weeks early was off, now he says he expects on our due date.

“Women who were colonized with GBS were not treated in labor. A secondary analysis looked at the effect of GBS status, based on vaginal swabs obtained at trial entry, on outcomes (Hannah, 1997). Calculations using that study’s data reveal that one-third of neonatal infections were in women testing positive for GBS. GBS also caused one of the four deaths in the expectant group in babies without lethal anomalies. Current standard practice—screening for GBS at the end of pregnancy and providing antibiotics in labor to those who are colonized—would have reduced, and might have eliminated neonatal infections in GBS + women, thus reducing infection rates overall, and it might have prevented the death. It is also possible that GBS status would not have been a factor or would have been less of a factor in neonatal infections were it not for women having vaginal exams at trial entry and multiple exams before delivery. (See next bullet points.)”

The study above says the following about women that are GBS+

“Women with PROM at term who are GBS + constitute a special subset. The Centers for Disease Control (2002) guidelines for management of GBS + women say nothing about inducing women with ruptured membranes at term, which suggests that awaiting spontaneous labor is acceptable provided that antibiotic therapy is initiated. And given that it takes time to instill the recommended dose of antibiotics, common sense dictates that women who prefer not to wait for labor should delay induction until they have an adequate dose of antibiotics on board.

In any case, regardless of GBS status or decisions around whether or when to induce, to minimize the risk of infection, women should avoid digital vaginal exams until established in labor, and their use should be minimized during labor. Data also suggest that oxytocin is the induction agent of choice. It appears to reduce infection rates compared with PGE2 without any offsetting disadvantages.”

The biggest issue is that even if you are GBS+ (in the US anyway) you are still going to have vaginal exams frequently. I have seen it first hand. I was GBS+ and for me personally, I was comfortable with waiting to go because I understood that by not putting anything into my vagina and by not having vaginal exams that I was reducing the risk of GBS transmission. Like I said in the article, bacteria flow down ward, not upward in the vagina and that includes GBS. GBS is in the vagina and on the external, not up high towards the cervix, unless it gets put there. And when you do get to the hospital, you will have antibiotics anyway. I have also read information that says that giving antibiotics doesn’t guarantee GBS transmission to the baby won’t happen, it only reduces the risk, so in the absence of a guarantee I was still ok with waiting. I guess at that point it becomes a personal decision and what is in your comfort level but the main thing is avoiding the vaginal exams and you really aren’t going to do that by going in.

Jen, I would also avoid any more vaginal exams prior to labor as well. It has been suggested that early vaginal exams can push the GBS bacteria up to the cervix and increase infection risks even before labor. And really, what does a vaginal exam before labor tell us anyway? What are we measuring? Obviously it’s not an indication of when the baby will come. Hang in there, babies come when babies are ready!

At 41weeks+1 I was brought into the hospital to be induced (still at 1cm, -1 for the head, lost part of the mucus plug, with no show and water intact).

They induced me twice with gel, then with pitocin. They had given me demerol after the first gel then was told to go home and come back in 5 hours if nothing happen. After they gave me gel again this time at barely 1cm still and was told to go home to sleep and come back in the morning (12hours) to which I was at 2cm. My doctor then broke my water and gave me an IV for pitocin and I was later given gas/air until my previous back injury made things too painful and had an epidural. When I told it was time to start pushing it was over 30hrs from the first gel (we started thursday morning and started pushing at 10pm friday) and after 2 hours of pushing and not being able to feel my contractions (I had to be woken up to push because I kept falling asleep) my doctor ordered a c-section.
They turned down my epidural first to see if I could feel my contractions then and I still couldnt so by the time they got me in the OR I was screaming.
The spinal tap they gave me went wrong and froze my lungs and I stopped breathing.
I woke up 2 hours later not being able to move and hardly talk, with my husband and I missing the whole birth of our son.

Jen, I am so sorry, that’s sounds like it was a very difficult birth experience. Why were you induced? I can see by how dilated you cervix wasn’t and how high the baby was and that you previously said you had a posterior cervix still that your Bishop’s score would have been unfavorable for induction. Was there some medical reason that you were induced? I hope you are healing ok and bonding with your baby. If you need to talk, please let me know.

Best wishes to you,

I was referred to your blog from a friend on your WTE home board. We were in Hot Topics discussing VBAC. I soooooooooooooooo bad want to have a VBAC next time. My water broke at 40 weeks, stained green with meconium. I was instructed to go right to the hospital. I was always of the mindset of not caring HOW my son got here just that he did get here safe and sound. Even when labor didn’t begin, Pitocin was started, and I ended up with a c-section, I wasn’t too upset. Not until afterwards. I ended up with a horrible blood infection. I was having febrile seizures…violent chills…followed by profuse sweating…and it would start all over again. It was a nightmare. I tried to breastfeed and failed horribly. For the first 6 months or so of my sons life I felt like a failure. I felt like I went to the hospital for surgery and just so happened to come home with a baby. I still don’t feel like I gave birth to my son…he’s almost 15 months old. I am not yet pregnant. We are waiting awhile longer. I’m still not overly against Pitocin or epidurals…and I’m not really fond of a home birth…I just want a vaginal birth. I live in Missouri and I’ve heard that midwives are all but illegal here. I’ve got a lot of research to do. I just wanted to share my story. Thanks!

Heydoula I was just standing in the living room when I felt warm liquid coming from my vagina. So I checked and it def was liquid no smell no blood looked like water and skim milk mixed together. I don’t believe im having contractions I have always had really bad periods. I have had back pain for the last 3 months of my pregnancy but these feel a little diff at times than constant pain im also feeling like very mild period cramping. Could this be labor or just feeling uncomfortable at almost 37 weeks also I have not had any more trickles of fluid since the last time. Any advice would be great thanks soo much love your blogs!

Usually if the water broke you will have a more leaking. It’s not continual leaking but every so often you would feel a little trickle or gush. Sometimes there can be a high leak but the baby kind of blocks any more fluid from coming out. I have had this happen with clients then when they go in to the hospital they call it an intact bag. Period cramps that come and go can be a sign of early labor. Right now it’s just a wait and see what happens kind of thing. Of course, by the time you get this reply you probably have it figured out already. Sorry it took so long, I am in korea so time wise I am way ahead of the Western world. Good luck and keep me posted!

I was in labor (at home) when my water broke. We had taken Bradley Birth classes (drug-free, husband-coached) and were well informed on what to do and what was to take place. The funny thing was that my contractions became more regular and almost less painful after my water broke. I was strep B positive so I knew if I wanted to have a vaginal birth, I needed to get 2 bags of anti-biotics into my system before giving birth. We went to the hospital. They did not give me c-section scare tactics or a time limit. They respected my decision to labor with no drugs. I did. But after pushing for 2 hours (with every device possible- a squat bar, up, down, different positions, etc.) my doctor knew I needed a c-section. I could see it in her eyes before she told me. We had become close and she knew how important it was for me to have a natural birth. She offered to let me push for another 1/2 hour. I don’t think a doctor concerned about themselves or money or all the other reasons people are giving for c-sections would offer that. Devastated, I had a c-section. I am due to have a second one in 3 days. I tried very hard and did a lot of research this time to have a VBAC, but ultimately, for my situation, the safest birth is another c-section. While I understand that there are probably doctors who perform them more often than they should and maybe even for the wrong reasons, it seems that there should be some stories that support why we have c-sections in the first place. If I had been in a 3rd world country, my son and I both probably would have died. It bothers me that there is so much propaganda against doctors and hospitals that perform c-sections when ultimately they are set up to protect us and/or our babies. I am not disagreeing that vaginal birth is best and I think many times inductions are unnecessary. I just think someone needs to offer some support for c-section moms who did everything right to have a natural birth and had a supportive doctor, but still had to have a c-section in the end.

Hi Alyson,

I am sorry that you don’t feel supported after having a c section. That’s really not what I blog about so you aren’t likely to find anything here that would help you from that standpoint but I can say that our stories aren’t that different. I am not sure if you have read my birth story, here’s the link…


In short, I too had a took the Bradley method, planned a natural birth and had a c section.

I also had GBS. I’d like to point out that being GBS positive does not mean that you must have 2 rounds of antibiotics to avoid an elective cesarean if the water is broken. That information is incorrect. When you are GBS positive, hospital protocol is to administer a round of antibiotics upon admission then every four hours after regardless of the water bag being in tact or not. If you deliver quickly and do not get any antibiotics in, then a blood test is usually done on the baby to test for infection or if you deliver at the 4 hour mark but didn’t have time to get another round of antibiotics they test the baby’s blood then also. As the study I posted in this article has shown, avoiding vaginal exams during labor decreases the risk of GBS transmission to the baby so waiting to go to the hospital if the water has broken is still a reasonable option as long as nothing is going into the vagina.

I have never insinuated on any post that c/s are done for money but I am pretty quick to suggest that they are done out of impatience. I do believe however that a 32% c/s rate in the US is out of control and it is very well understood that US obstetrical care does not always practice evidence based medicine. These are not my opinions and there is no propaganda on this site that would suggest that. Everything that I discuss is linked back to or includes the studies and data within the article. Everything I talk about can be referenced to reputable sources. I have read many studies and articles and talked to many OBs about this very topic. The fact is, about half of all c/s are unnecessary. Many of them are due to elective inductions, early epidurals and failure to wait. If you are interested in learning more about the lack of evidence based maternity care (and where a lot of my stats come from) you can read it in The Milbank Report: Evidence Based Maternity Care.


I am pregnant with #2 as well and I am planning to VBAC as I do feel as if it is the safest option for both me and my baby. You can read more here…



I also do not agree that going to the hospital to birth because they are set up to protect us and our babies is quite accurate either, if that were true then the safer evidence based practices would be used rather than some of the other practices that are happening in US hospitals today, such as the use of Cytotec for labor induction for example, the liberal use of pitocin and elective induction, continual EFM, mandatory IVs, AROM and other outdated practices during 2nd and 3rd stage labor. I am glad that we have interventions like c/s when they are truly necessary but necessary can be very subjective at times. The US ranks poorly in prematurity and infant mortality rates when compared to other industrialized countries and these rankings are directly related to the unnecessary interventions. Putting full faith into a system that is in crisis can be dangerous.

There are many online communities and message boards for women who need support after an unexpected c/s that planned a natural birth. You can find your tribe if you look for it just like you find what you feel is propaganda when you are looking for that. I went through a rough period after my own c section, especially because I had an inverted t incision and thought I couldn’t VBAC. I did find a support group online for that.

Congrats on your upcoming birth. Best of luck to you.


My c-section was because of hospital policies being followed and unneeded interventions. My water broke at 1am, went to the hospital at 10ish am. My labor had not started yet. I was being seen by a midwife but since they worked at the hospital, they had to follow protocol. They talked us into starting pitocin around 1pm and after laboring for 12 hrs(2 of which were pushing) they recommended a c-section.
I didn’t know or think to ask to be taken off the pit once my labor was started… If I could go back I’d rip that IV out of my arm and take off those monitors that tied me to the bed. My baby was face up so I had horrible back labor and if only I could have moved around maybe I wouldn’t have had a c-section.
I am pregnant again and planning a VBAC. One good thing about having had the c-section is I have learned so much in my trying to prevent another one! I have been unsuccessful so far in finding a Dr that will do a hospital VBAC so we’ll probably end up with a midwife and homebirth which is what I want anyway!

HI Rachel,
I’m sorry things didn’t work out the way you wanted. Protocol, while helpful in some situations, just isn’t one size fits all unfortunately. It is ironic how much we learn after the fact but going forward it is amazing to have so much knowledge. I am also pregnant and planning a VBAC 🙂 I have a ton of info here on my site about VBAC and finding the perfect provider so if you need anything please let me know. Good luck to you!


Excellent information, thanks!
I am actually struggling a lot, my first birth was not what I had planned or dreamt about. My water broke at 3 am (clear) and I just took a shower and waited a while, then at 5am I called my doctor and he told me to immediately go to the hospital, it was my first time and I didn’t know very much. I mean, I was so naive and just thought once my water broke I would go into labor fast. Well, when I got to the hospital like you mentioned and they did a vaginal exam right away, I was 0 dilated and cervix was all closed. I was soo sad, so they induced me, had me laying on a bed with the monitor and induced, I couldn’t move and had stronger contrations. After about 5 hours the dr came in and checked again, still dilated cero and cervix barely began to soften he said, so…he said, he wanted a c-section because it was best for me and baby and that everything would be just fine, he said I was at risk for infection and that scared me. I trusted him and there we went. I was in so much pain for weeks and couldn’t care for my newborn like I had wanted to. Do you think I was pushed to c-section? do you think I could have gone longer and I would have been able to deliver vaginally? the baby was also in good position, I am praying and hoping for a vbac and wont go back to the same doctor, what are my chances? I feel so scared it wont happen like I dream about. Thanks again!

Hi Ana,
I am sorry your birth didn’t go the way you wanted. it’s hard to say if you were pushed into a c section or not because there could be more details about the birth that we don’t know like did your baby have any distress from the pitocin or did you show any signs of infection like fever. It does sound like your body and baby weren’t quite ready for birth yet which is why the pitocin didn’t work. It, like anything else, doesn’t always work if it’s not really time. Don’t give yourself a hard time over it, we have to make the best decisions we can with the information we have at the time we have to do it. Just learn from it and be sure to take a good childbirth education class (not a hospital class but like Bradley, Lamaze, Hypnobabies or Hypnobirthing, etc) and learn everything you can so that you can be prepared to deal with anything that comes your way next time.

I think you have a fantastic chance at a VBAC. I would do my homework and find the perfect midwife or doctor. I have a lot of links that about that here on my site as I am planning a VBAC myself this summer. Please let me know if I can help you in any way.

Hi there. My wife has decided to go for a VBAC because the c/s we had was not too pleasant. There was a bit of a setback when we discovered that this baby was in frank breech position. We have done absolutely everything to have it turn with no success – even acupuncture.
However, we managed to find a few OBs here in Canada who are willing to deliver frank breech. My wife’s water broke yesterday at noon and we came right in to the hospital. It is clear and has gushed a couple of times since. After reading this I am glad there has not been a vaginal exam yet. Anyways, it is the next Morning and there is still just occasional small contractions and nothing else happening. It is 7:30 am and the OB is going to visit us in an hour. She has already suggested that if by noon today (24hrs) nothing has happened, they want to do a c/s. We are just not sure if we should just tell them we will go home and wait it out?! They will not induce labor because they say there is a chance of rupturing uterus in our situation.
We would appreciate any suggestions whatsoever. Thanks.

Hi Austin,

I am in Korea so we have a pretty big time difference, sorry for the delay. As a VBACer myself, I completely understand wanting to give it a shot and not wanting to induce. For me personally, I’d wait. Of course, you have to do what best for you in this situation but the statistics are on your side. I know that by now you have already talked to the OB so update us if you can. Good luck!


First, I just wanted to say thank you for this post and I wish I’d read it before I had my son!

A quick overview of my story…
My water broke at 38 weeks while I was on the toilet. It was obviously my water. Couldn’t be anything else. Everything was clear and fine. I called my doctor, went in and he did a vaginal exam (obviously, I didn’t have all the info) and confirmed it broke. He told me I should go straight to the hospital, but said it would be ok if I tried acupuncture first to induce labor. We spoke with our doula and researched and decided to wait for 24 hours before we went in. We tried the acupuncture (with a tens unit to keep triggering the spots), homeopathics, nipple stimulation, walking.. nothing worked. I went into the hospital the next day. Was given pitocin. I had an amazing doula and nurse who helped me manage the pitocin to try to simulate natural birth and managed to not have an epidural/c-section. After my son was born, they were worried about infection (his blood count was borderline.. wouldn’t have worried EXCEPT since my water had been broke, I was paranoid.. especially since this was my first baby). He was in NICU while we were at the hospital for antibiotics, but was fine and healthy and came home with me. All is well now.

So, my current situation:
I’m pregnant with #2! Yeah!! There is a birthing center opening up in my area and I’m so excited about a birth with no interventions. However, I’m paranoid this will happen again. I do plan on waiting longer and not allowing any vaginal exams if I do have a repeat. However, I still worry. When I’ve asked, I’ve been told either: the chance is minimal OR since my body has already been through 1 birth, it’ll know what to do this time. Is there any more concrete research to show my chances??

I have not seen any concrete research on it but have seen the same that you have been told: the chance of a PROM repeat is very minimal and/or your body has done this before and will get the point. My experience has been that if there is PROM and labor doesn’t begin soon that it’s usually a malpositioning issue. For instance, OP (sunny side up) babies are more likely to result in PROM. I would suggest, in addition to your other preparations, that you see a chiropractor throughout your pregnancy and check out http://www.spinningbabies.com to learn about proper posture and other optimal fetal positioning techniques. Eating a diet with good protein and vit c will build a strong amniotic sack and drinking red raspberry leaf tea starting in the second trimester to tone your uterus and make it nice and strong will all help you avoid a repeat situation like the first birth. And also, waiting if your membranes do rupture. LIke the article says, the data shows that 90% will begin labor within 48 hours. Good luck to you, I hope you have a great birth!


omg i didnt know that sunny side up babies increase your chance of PROM!!!
OK i’ll tell my stories =)
Baby no1, at 37weeks preg my waters broke at about 8.30am, i was in bed waking up and there was a big gush at first i thought i was weeing myself but couldnt stop it so then realised what it was!! I wited round had a shower went shopping, watched some tv, surfed the net, ate tuna spag for tea all the usual stuff, i was getting pretty regular contractions all day but not really getting any more painful, at 11pm i decided to head to the hosi just to make sure everything was ok, as soon as the midwife seen me she said oh your not in progressive labour i’ll get you some sleeping pills and a couple of panadol and we will see about inducing you in the morning if things havnt started!!!! um ok. so wake up at like 6am with pretty much no contrations, my dr see’s me does a vaginal exam, im not dilated at all but i think from memory the cervix had just started to soften, so they put the drip in and started pitocin at about 7am, contractions started pretty quick and i was in the delivery room by 12noon and on the gas not long after that, they had the baby monitor and contration monitor on me and i was pretty much stuck on the bed on my back or side for most of the labour. Im not sure what time it was but i started to need to push but the midwife wanted me to wait for the doc to do another vaginal exam and i was only 7cms dilated so the had to turn the pitocin off and so my labour then all but stopped so they decided to turn it back on and had to stuff around with it for a while, at this time i had a pethidene shot as i just couldnt handle the pain anymore, and i wanted something to help me relax between contrations while i waited to be told i could push, but before the pethadine even started to work i was given the ok i started pushing and about 40mins later at 11.03pm my son was born, once i had his head out i had to stop pushing i wasnt told why but remember the midwife counting and was later told his cord was around his neck 3 times, he didnt cry when he was born and was purple/blue on his face and palms of hands and bottoms of his feet, my mum got to cut the cord and he was taken over to get some oxygen which kinda shocked him into action and after a moment he was fine and handed to me. he was 51cms long, head cirt of 33 1/2cms and 7. 13 1/2 pounds at 37weeks, they say if he had of been born on time he would of been around the 9.8pound mark!!!
Baby no2, waters break as i get up for a wee at 8am its a lil trickle and all through the day i keep flooding everything i am wearing everytime i stand up of bend or stretch, i wait and wait but labout doesnt even start this time, i am given the same instructions as before wait for 24hrs if nothing come in the next morning and we will start induction. We get to the hosi at 7am and get a vaginal exam i think it was still sealed and pretty much hard and baby was high up head down but no where near engaged, they started pictocin at 9am labour started n stopped all day until 5.15pm and i was in the delivery room at 6pm, was happy standing and swinging my hips through contrations and resting over ball which was on the bed i just wanted to stay upright and use gravity but everyone told me it was still early and i was going to wear myself out to get on the bed n try to rest a bit…so i used the gas and got up n down for the loo as i had alot of bladder pressure, finally lost my plug and then found out at about 7-8 i was 3cms, at about 10.40pm i started pushing, and i pushed and pushed and pushed until about 12.30 when they got my doc in and i could tell everyone was getting worried including my parents, the doc did a vaginal exam and it turns out i still had a bit of my cervix curled over the head and that if i had of kept pushing i could of done alot of damage, so they got me to stop pushing and up into the kneeling posi on the bed when i couldnt not push anymore, i remember the doc and 2 midwives talking in the corner of the room they decided to ask me if i wanted assistance of being cut (sorry cant remember when it is called) or if i wanted to keep trying for a lil while longer but that they believed that if the baby wasnt born soon it would be best to consider a c-section, i was like no,no dont cut me (lol) and the realisation of how close i was to a c-section after everything i had been through gave me the stregth to keep pushing!! I had terrible pain in my bum as the head was coming down and had a heat pack while we waited for the next contration, when she started crowning i felt the burn like with my son as her head crown but it just kept getting worse!!! i think i asked if it was coming out wrong and someone put my hand down to feel the head just sitting there, so kept pushing and eventually got her head out at which time my dad grabs my face and says dont look yet darl and im like what!!! oh no your not stopping me and look just in time to see the midewife pull the sack from the face and realise my baby girl came out facing up and not down and that was why she had given me so much trouble!!! (my dad thought it was the back of her head pulsating not her face with the sac moving because she was trying to breath hahaha men) I was later told at the first two earlier vaginal exams she had been facing sideways with her nose kind of facing up but they thought she would turn down before she engaged…. nope she didnt. Arlieya was born at 2.03am 1st of june 2007 50cms long, head cert of 34cms and weighing exactly the same as her brother 7.13 1/2 pounds at ten days early (from her due date)
I am now planning my third and final child with my partner, he has two children from a previous reli as i do the boys are the same age and so are the girl, he had a vasectomy 2 yrs ago but we are getting it reversed for the next baby, I now plan on staying home for as long as possible even if my waters do break PROM i just didnt know it was possible to do for longer than 48hrs!!! do you think i have weak waters that are just prone to reaking early even though my body isnt ready for labour? and with the GBS once you test possitive for it do you always have it??? i am sure i was neg with my son but i was poss with my daughter does that mean i’ll have it with the next?

HI Ashlee,

Sorry I missed your post, thanks for sharing your stories! I don’t know about having a weak bag and breaking at the onset of labor. i’ve never read about that. I have read that vitamin c can help strengthen it though and that OP (face up) babies are more prone to have waters break before labor begins, like you said. But like the article said, most women will begin labor within 48 hours so maybe it’s not that the water is breaking before you are ready to labor as much as you just aren’t being given adequate time to start labor on your own. As for the GBS, I have read that you are more likely to be positive in subsequent pregnancies if you’ve been positive before. I was positive in my first pregnancy and didn’t test in my second one so I can’t speak from personal experience on it.

As for your tendency to have OP babies, have you considered chiropractic care? If there are misalignments it could cause your babies to prefer to face up in utero and not turn in labor. I think that maybe if you focus on getting the baby in a good position prior to labor maybe you can help prevent an early break in the waters perhaps?


I do appreciate the point about the vaginal exams and introducing bacteria, and it’s probably not always urgent to get to the hospital right away, but my water broke with a huge gush with my second baby, and the doc said to take my time coming to the hospital. However, we decided not to wait, and within half an hour I was having strong contractions. My son was born only 2 hours and 15 minutes after my water broke.
With my first it started as more of a trickle, but within 3-4 hours I was in labor, so considering my past experiences, with my 3rd I still think if my water breaks, I’m heading to the hospital!

The difference in your scenario is that labor DID start right away. The waiting to go suggestion is when labor doesn’t start right away. Your’s started quickly and apparently with a force and your instinct guided you and that’s AWESOME! You knew what to do, you listened to your body and you made the right decisions and that’s exactly what you should. Considering your past experiences, I would not wait either 🙂

I was laying in bed and it felt like I peed the bed (2:30AM). It was just a trinkle. It kept just leaking a little like that for a little over an hour. It was slightly pink and it kinda smelled a little like blood. I read your blog and decided that I’d just try and go back to sleep since it stopped and wait until tommorrow or the next day and see what happens. Well, at 5AM I had gushing water (still slightly pink) and it would NOT stop coming out for like 10 minutes! This is my first pregnancy and I’m just worried about what I should do. I haven’t had any more leakage except for one little trinkle since the big gush.

Hi Alliemae,

It’s hard to tell sometimes if it was a leak or if it was urine with some bloody show. Usually if it’s the water breaking you would have more trickles. I would put on a pad and see what happens. As for what you should do, I can’t really tell you that, you have to do what you think is best. You didn’t say how far along you are but if it were me and I were full term (which, actually I am! I’m 38+ weeks), I would wait to see if contractions started before doing anything.

Good luck and keep us posted!


this article was informative, but i still haven’t found the answer to my question: is there always blood in the amniotic fluid when your water breaks?

Sometimes there is. It’s not really bloody amniotic fluid but instead it’s bloody show caused by the vessels being stretched in your cervix. Sometimes women mistake bloody show for the water breaking. Sometimes the water breaks and has some pink tint to it (again, caused by the bloody show) and sometimes there can actually be real blood in the amniotic fluid that would be indicative of other problems. It really depends on what it looked like and how much it was. The general rule of thumb is that if you have enough blood to fill a pad in an hour you need to go to the doc.

I had a baby on June 29th and want to thank you for this post and all the people that commented with their stories. It was this post that enabled me to feel confident not contacting my doctors after my water broke on the 28th, and helped lead to the natural birth I wanted.

My water broke around 4:30pm on the 28th, and I could feel some minor contractions late that night when we took a walk to help labor get started. After the walk labor stalled, so we took advantage and got some sleep. The next morning we took a much longer walk and labor had started in earnest by noon, called the doctor around 4pm, got to the hospital around 5 and our son was born around 6pm. I know that if I had called my doctors on the 28th, when my water broke, they would have wanted my labor to start quickly, and it likely would have led to pitocin and an epidural (at least). Instead we were able to labor at home on our own time, and not be on anyone’s clock.

Thanks so much!

Is it easy to get a midwife? I am so afraid of the hospital and the panic they cause in people. Even though I am not pregnant yet, I am trying to do research now so that I am more informed and can make the right decision. The problem is in convincing my husband in the whole midwife thing, he believes that doing it in the hospital is safer than a home birth.

Depending on where you live, you could look for a birthing center. They’re a nice 1/2 way point between home and hospital and could be a good compromise. If you do decide on a hospital, make sure you have a good doula that you feel comfortable with, a doctor that’s supportive of what you want, and a hospital that is friendly to natural birth (talk to folks – doulas, LLLI leaders, birth class teachers – and tour several until you find one you’re comfortable with). Educate yourself and you’ll find you can control your hospital experience better than you would initially believe.

This is such an eyeopening article I have seen so far throughout my pregnancy. I am
40 weeks today

When I went to hosp on thursday the doc says after internal exam that I am 2cm dilated & I shud go for CTG exam n if contractions are good she ll admit me in the hosp. & will proceed further by inducing labor. CTG showed contractions and my husband requested her to wait for them to get stronger.. & we ll come again when they are more stronger…She unwillingly agreed … Aftr coming home, next friday morning nothing happened and they faded. We continued pressure points and were just waiting ..But had mild contractions on & off with no regularity and hardly any pain.

Then Sunday 12 PM water broke & we were like If we go she wud definitely induce
…I was so sure that i ll be leaving for hospital and I called my hubby also. And as commonly beleived that call hosp & talk to the doctor. So i called but shud say luckily nobody picked up in her room then i realized clinic hours are over.
I was afraid if I should go or not ..coz I knew there is only one answer when I d reach there that induce my labor. And I really really wanna avoid all these interventions. I hardly have any pains and am having irregular contractions.. today they are a lil strong but not painful at all. I dont have any support like midwives , doulas or anybody out here whoz experience and could help me take any right decision. I just live with my hubby here & we didnt let anyone in our family know so far that my waters break.
Luckily after searching I got this article & I am continuously checking the color ,smell of the water ..evrytime I go to the washroom. Also I am checking for my fever or any sick feeling also the baby movement etc. There is no sign of worry abt these so far as far as I can judge.

We thought we ll go to hosp today but I am trying acupressure points since thursday or so.. And today ..its almost 51 hours..they seems lik showing some better contractions but hardly any pain. So we decided to wait more .. We are confused if we are doing it right on our own or we should just get medical help.

Any suggestions?
M & N

Hi M&N!

Congrats on your baby! I can’t tell you what you should do but I do believe that you should do what feels best to you. It sound as if you are monitoring yourself well. Also, be sure to drink lots of water and stay hydrated so that your body continues to make lots of amniotic fluid. I hope you’ve had a chance to read through all the comments on this article as well. Get out, go for a walk, enjoy each other’s company and see how you feel about things so that you can make a decision together. Hopefully things will pick up soon and you will have a baby in the very near future! Please keep me posted on how things go. good luck!!!


Hi, unfortunately I couldn’t read all the comments, but just wanted to add that at least in Austria (I’m not sure about Germany) it’s still state-of-the-art to call an ambulance after your water has broken. And this is what they all do it (I’m a member of an Austrian parents forum). Sure, you feel like being in a life-threatening emergency situation right from the start. So you put the moms on adrenaline, that will prevent relaxation, and then force the cervix open with pitocin. Yay.

And oddly enough (or not so oddly really) Austria has one of the highest c/s rates in Europe. Go figure.

And oddly enough (or not so oddly really) Austria has one of the highest c/s rates in Europe. Go figure.

Amy, I had a c-section 3 years ago for a stupid induction, (jus because I was in the week 41) Now we try a VBAC. Im 40 weeks today. 5 days ago I felt something like water goin our, but in small c, since that I feel wett, but I almost sure is not amniotique fluid for the smell. My MD told me abouth induction. And I say no way until really know what is happend. So they propose a espectrum, to look inside. Im not sure abouth that because is like vaginal examination? We will make a scan. I said I prefer to dont do nothing, but My husband and they told me that I should not try to convince my self that is not liquid just because I want a VBAC. !!! so ima egoist!
Well I need some help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

best regards

Hi Maria,

Ultimately the choice is yours on what to do. I personally would do the scan instead of the speculum exam but I still don’t know that I’d do the scan either. Has your husband read this article and the comments? You should do what you feel comfortable with but realize that induction for a VBAC has it’s own set of risks as well. In the mean time be sure to stay hydrated, drink lots of water so your body will still make plenty of fluid if you do have a slow leak. I wish I had better advice for you but I can’t tell you what to do. I do, however, support waiting in the absence of any indications of infection. Good luck Maria.


Thanks Amy, Yes yesterday I give this article tu my husband. (we dont coment the point yet, was hiperlate) Im cheking my presion and temperature, also the make me a urine test, (rutine one) all ok. I just want to know if you have some research abouth espectrum and his efects.

I dont want to do nothing against my bb, or my self. But I know the danger of induction afher c-section, and I told them in that case I prefer to go straigth away to the c-section.
For me this is my last chance to see if my body is able to labour. I did a big research, I found a birth center, etc… I feel a little disapointed, looking my husband face, and wondering if he is thinking “Whay we just can have babys in the normal way without so many complications?” so Im a little sad…

I just have the conviction “firts do not harm”

I dont want to do nothing. But that looks selfish.

Well thanks a lot for your time!

Ok last news. My Midwives call the hospital where I book at the beginnin, afther move to the birth center. they dont want to make me the scan, they propose de speculum, but my MD told them I didnt wanted so the birth center agree with them: Suport my decition and check temperature and pulse. What I dont liked was that they said in the labour day they will be hiper focus on my and at the ferst sign we will go to the hospital, and they want to monitor the baby 24 hours afther birth! just because I dont want the speculum.
What if we made the speculum tomorrow? they will let me be free?

I think that it’s reasonable for them to monitor you in labor and then transfer at the sign of infection. From what I’m understanding, they are supporting your wishes and telling you their plan for labor which is not very invasive. I can see not liking the monitoring for 24 hours after the birth BUT that’s not very long and you’d be there anyway, right? I would be ok with them doing the monitoring during and after birth if that meant they supported my not wanting a speculum exam. And I support your not wanting the speculum exam, there’s really no reason to be messing around in there if your water really is broken.

I think you’ve done a great job advocating for yourself and they are complying with your wishes and being a VBAC that is SO very important.

So now what? Are we just waiting for you to go into labor now??? 🙂

Thanks Ammy, Im really happy to have your support. Well yes we are waiting to go into labor.

I will walk, be in the indian position, etc.. I know I we cant try the sweep. Let me know your sugestions for start labour. The baby is head down, and is in the left so well position to born.


Hey Maria, did you know I had a VBAC three weeks ago tomorrow? 🙂 I don’t know if you’ve read anything else on this blog besides this article but I thought I’d bring it up just in case. I know how important this is for you and I wish you the best. that said, babies come when babies are ready. My labor began at 41w1d. Walking will be the best thing you can do. I walked miles the last few days I was pregnant. Acupressure and massage can help, I talked about that in the article. Orgasms are good too but since you can’t have sex you need to be ‘creative’. Keep me posted on how it goes!

Good luck

Yes!I read before your VBAC history, but I didnt know was just 3 weeks ago! congratulations! Is amazing how did you fight!

As you did I think in all that happend with my past experience, but in your case your c-section had a reason, in mine was my ignorancy, and also the fact that we change country every two years, and then as know I started my pregnancy in a country where I had not idea abouth pregnant policy.

I moved to london 2 months ago, from then I made all my research to avoid induction and c-section, the hospital was suportive buth 2 weeks ago I sow the doctor and he said I was not alowed to go overdued, or to walk, or to wo into the wather, or ,or, or…..so thats way I found other options.

For that reason think abouth be hiper controled in my labour just because a suspection of laking wather, without be sure, make me feel taht I will have to be atach to a bed, etc…

well, let me know what do you think,

Amy, just let you know, I start with contractions one hour ago, pretty close each other, so let see, Im hiper happy,
If I dont write you tomorrow means that we are in the birh center. Please think of us..

Best regards


I was coming on here to answer your last message when I saw the message that you started having contractions! I’m so excited for you 🙂 You are going to do so well. You have done so much preparation and I do think that switching to the midwives was a great idea. When a doc starts telling you or, or, or they are telling you that you won’t get what you want. You knew that and handled it and I’m proud of you!!!

Are you going to stay home and labor for a while before going to the birth center?

I’m so excited! I’m sending you positive, peaceful and easy VBAC vibes. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!


Amy, Hi, I have now 4 h with contractions every 5 min. Im in my home I will waitt, I try to sleep, and now Im goin to eat a “quesadilla” jajaj. Im hiper happy. Just to start labour along make me feel so well! So I dont know until when but I will rest in home until be sure…

thanks for EACH ONE OF YOUR WORLDS, I take them like the bigest support I have now, with my family and friends so far.
We my mother is in her way to come, but will take her 8 hour more, I hope the baby is goin to waitt.

How long should I have to rest in home?

Best regards!

Good, eat and rest when you can. You will know when you need to go to the birth center. Just listen to your body and your instinct. Take your time and do the ‘easy’ part at home. Enjoy the time with your husband. Use this time to relax into the contractions and breath steadily through them, it will help you when things gets more intense. Good luck Maria, I’m rooting for you! Go mama GO!!!

Contractions stop at 3:30 am and then I sleep, start again at 5 but just every 15 min, and now stop again, I know I have to waitt…I will take a shower eat, and goin for a walk!

I will Keep you informed!

I guest if the baby is just waitting for my mother to come over.in 3 hours!

so from now I will move,

Be sure to sleep when you can. Your body is warming up. Sometimes VBAC labors have a long early phase, it’s not uncommon. Walking is good, it will help baby get into a good position and into the pelvis. You can do it!!!! You sound like you are in great spirits. I hope your mom is a good support for you. Take care mama!


UPDATE.. Yesterday all day contractions every 15, to 20 min. Very strong ones. Nigth every 10 to 12 min. I take a nap betwen them. Now I still with the same patron, but not tired, not deseperated. Happy.
this is my way. I just need time…

Thanks desiree for your suport.

Well this could take hours, ¿Any sugestions?

i will let you know before to go to the BC.

Im so glad Im not in a hospital,

Good day for you girls!

Thanks for the update!

“this is my way. I just need time…” = probably the best attitude you could have. It just sounds like your body is warming up. This slow to start, start and go labor is warming you up, thinning your cervix so it can dilate easily and helping your baby get into a good position. The body is wise, listen to it. Take care of yourself, eat, drink, rest. You will know what to do. Keep up the good work and spirits!


Maria, I am so excited for you!! You can do it!!! Good luck!!

Maria, you can try nipple stimulation as it is non-invasive. I would do it manually in the bath with lotion so it didn’t irritate. Don’t do it during contractions. I hope it kicks things into gear for you. Be gentle and only do what’s comfortable! It doesn’t need to be constant – take breaks as needed. Walking is also good. Babies come when they are ready. 🙂 you are doing great! Estoy muy emocionada esperando a su bebe!!

Amy, Desiree,

I will link you my bitrh experience afther. But now i let you know:
Baby born in water afther 4 days of labour. Painful but great! best experience ever!
afther I had a enormus blood lost, hospital, ambulance, 2 second T also…now 2 weeks for recover.
mix experience..but i dont change this for nothing!!!!!!!!1
>i was thinking in all of you at the moment my baby was born, we maked!


Maria Maria!!! That’s great! I can’t wait to read your story 🙂 I’m sorry for the complications after, are you ok? I’m so glad you had the birth you wanted and that you seem so happy. I’m glad we could be here for you. Thank you for the update, I’ve been thinking about you. Get some rest mama, you deserve it!

Here is my blog, is most in spanish but I traduced my son birth and pospartum experience for you, sorry if is not hiper clear.

Besos a todas!

I’ve been reading all the comments here to figure out what indicates true active labor. I’m at 38 weeks and I would like to try my best at an unmedicated hospital birth. So if my water breaks, do I wait until my contractions are 5-1-1 before I call the doctor? (If it’s easier to direct me a URL that spells this out, that would be great too.) Thanks so much for your advice!

There’s really no clear cut answer. What hospitals classify as true active labor is dilation to 4cm so unless you can check your own cervix, you wouldn’t really know that. A lot of providers say come straight in if your water breaks. Many hospitals use the 5-1-1 rule but I think that tends to be for women who want epidurals and many many women never have an obvious “5-1-1” pattern. Most women that I know that are aiming for a natural hospital birth labor at home (or where ever) as long as possible before going into the hospital. If you have a doula she can help you determine when you should go also. Good luck!

Thank you for your quick reply! I guess I would need to hire a doula to get the reassurance I need, but it’s not in our budget at this time. I guess I’ll try my best to trust my body and look for warning signs in order to labor at home as long as possible in order to avoid any scare tactics the hospital may have up their sleeve! Thanks again!


Where are you? There are usually doulas in training that will do births for free or reduced rates in order to get experience and births for their certifications. I can help you if I know where you are. How far along are you?

I’m in Seattle. I’m at 38 weeks right now, due August 31st. Yes! Please let me know if you can help! THANK YOU!


I am also in the Seattle area! I would suggest that you check out the website http://www.doulamatch.net for a low cost doula. You should be able to find one that is free or low cost if they have their training but little hands on experience. If you still can’t find anyone there, call Seattle Midwifery School. They have a doula program (the one I am planning to take), and I am sure they could send someone your way! Good luck! BTW, in what hospital are you planning to deliver?

Wow. That is a great site! Thank you so much! I’m delivering at Swedish.
Running out of time to find a doula! I’ll speak to my husband about whether we want to rush the search this time, or wait until next birth so we can take our time searching. Thanks again! 🙂

Good luck, I hope you are able to find someone!! I think even this late in the game, moms are always better off with more support!! 😉

I had my daughter at Swedish – First Hill two years ago. One thing to keep in mind is that if you end up being induced and needing to have your cervix ripened, Swedish FH does use cytotec (aka misoprostol or miso) for that purpose. I would suggest that you google it and read up so that you are prepared in case the situation presents. There are plenty of other medications that are safer and can be used instead. The l&d nurse that I had told me that it was cheaper, so that is what they preferred to use. I had never heard of the drug, and allowed it to be administered. Things didn’t go well (to say the least), but my daughter and I did come through ok. I don’t mean to scare you though, I am just hoping you can learn from my experience there. It is a great hospital otherwise!! 🙂

And duh, you might have meant Swedish Ballard – which I really don’t know much about! 🙂

Yes, I meant Swedish First Hill. I will read up on that drug. I am so grateful for all your advice! Thanks again! Please keep me informed of any other things you can think of that would relate to my situation!

Glad Margaret could chime in. I do agree that a doula would be helpful, even this late. I’ve had clients hire me after 38 weeks. It’s not ideal but it’s better than not having one at all.

Good luck!


Hi Bee, I was just thinking about you today. I hope everything went well with your delivery!!


I had 4 days of contractions without any 5-11, or normal patern,I was givin up! at the end when MD check me I was 8 cm d!!baby borns 2 hours late! so every body is diferent, you never know, is is your 1 baby in my opinion dont let your body be over tired (hapend to me)be sure someone tell you how D are you before go to hospital!

the best for you and your baby!

Beautiful birth story Maria! Thank you so much for sharing and for translating it. I know exactly how you are feeling, I felt the same way after my VBAC, 4 weeks ago today! I also felt like you at one point when it was so hard and I wanted to give up but in my head I found the strength to keep going. I am so proud of you!

I can’t believe your bag was intact. It’s not uncommon to have a high leak with an intact bag or for a leak to reseal. All the more reason to wait and let nature take it’s course.

I’d love to repost your birth story as a guest post on my blog. Do you mind? Also, are you on Facebook? I’d love to keep in touch. I am Amy Fuller in South Korea if you want to look me up.

Congrats on your birth and thank you again for sharing!


Congratulations, Maria!

Im glad you were able to undestrans my traduction! I hope you also see the postpartum experiene, that wasnt so nice!

Amy of course you can repost my history, maybe could help someone.

I also find coincidences betwen our birth history’s.When I was givin up I though in your history, when you though you was givin up, so I realized that was normal to feel in that way.

baby boy is doing well, eating a lot! sleeping a lot!My 2 years old buterfly is a little jealous,she dosent know how to manage the new brother plus mom in bed.

Today I made a big effort to make up my face and do something in my hair. For her should be horrible see every day her pale mother in bed. But in one week I will be out of home and I will take her every where.

Your English is great, thanks for taking the time to translate it! I did see the postpartum story. I understand how you feel. I had to transfer after my birth too. It didn’t make me unhappy about my birth experience though, like you, I was so happy to have had a VBAC and a healthy baby. I’m glad my VBAC story helped you in your labor. Long labors are hard.I do agree that wanting to give up is normal. I’m glad the baby is doing so well! My two year old is a little jealous too. Good for you for trying to look nice! I just started putting on make up and doing my hair, you are way ahead of me!

Thank you again for sharing your story. Great job mama!!!

I’ve had clients hire me when they were in labor! Don’t wait until your second birth, have a great first birth!

I posted my stories and questions up about half way in response to one of ur posts doulamama1

I think this article needs to address when water breaks due to premature labor. I am 31 weeks with twins, and I am trying to find out more information about water breaking prematurely. This article assumes it would be safe to deliver, but I know of another twin mom whose water broke at 29 weeks and she was put on hospitalized bedrest until she had the babies at 33 weeks. I think the distinction needs to be made between water breaking at full term and beforehand.

Thanks for posting this! I was worried about a friend who has been having contractions for 40 hours (once an hour). I too thought she should be at the hospital receiving “help,” but your article has really educated me! Thankfully, my friend has an experienced doula. I am more knowlegable now for the future. Also, happy 1st birthday to Francesco! 🙂

Francesco says thanks! 🙂

Hello Ermanno and Alessia. I know this is a long shot, but are you still around in Cambridge? We are currently in a very similar situation to the one you were in, also in Cambridge, and it would be really helpful to talk about it. We are currently 4 days post-waters breaking and are resisting induction, but it is getting harder. We would very much appreciate any advice.
Thanks in advance,
Steve and Camille

wow- 3 weeks after water breaks to give birth! that’s amazing! i’m one of the sorts who has labor for a month before my water breaks… but once it does, it’s just a matter of hours before the baby is heading out.
thanks for this information- i was looking up some info for my sister-in-law who was strep-B positive, and didn’t start ‘labor’ within 48 hours of her water breaking. you gave me such amazing insight, especially in the comments.

and as a homebirth mama (on my 3rd, having another homebirth with my 4th), i was hugely relieved to see the info on avoiding vaginal exams. because i had so many with my first two births (midwife in hospital) i found it odd to have two midwives and during my entire pregnancy, no one checked me internally without my request (i was three weeks late and a little paranoid). and during labor, i think there was only one internal exam. but once again, at my request. when it came to pushing, my midwife didn’t stop me to check, but said if it wasn’t time, i wouldn’t keep pushing. out came baby.

i love the confidence and skills of women who don’t observe birth medically, but holistically. they can tell by sounds, movements, facial expressions where a woman is in her labor process. they can tell how much pain, when things are going well, when things are not, not by machines, but by observing the entire woman. and the confidence they instilled in me during the labor process, about my health, strength and patience, and about the baby’s part in the birth, it’s something I cannot explain.

I’m so happy I came upon this thread. I have been losing sleep the last two nights, being uncertain of whether I am making the right choice by waiting for natural labor to kick in. My water broke over 36 hours ago, when I was 40wk 5 days over. I know this thread has addressed mostly PROMs, but the information is helpful nevertheless. I am negative for Group B strep and have avoided any internal exams thanks to the advice of my midwife. However, I have been extremely anxious, having tried nipple stimulation, walks (though short ones), and accupressure to get labor going. The most I have felt has been inconsistent cramping like menstrual cramps. Also, while the waters breaking was a HUGE gush followed by hours of smaller flows, the last 12 hours has been drier, and I’m beginning to wonder if I may have resealed???? My midwife offered me the choice to take me to the hospital where I would receive pitocin, but I am convinced now that I do not have to do this, fearing infection. Temperature has remained normal, baby has been moving, and heart rate is perfect. The waiting, however, is the most difficult thing, and I’m desperate for signs from my body that it is working to get this baby out!!

After reading your post I figure I must be in an extreme minority. My water broke first without any contractions and I went to the hospital right away. I’m glad I did because my daughter was born 4 hours later. Admittedly, I probably could have waited a couple hours and made it just fine. I’m pregnant with my second, due in 10 weeks, and am worried that if my water doesn’t break first this time around I’ll have barely any time to make it to the hospital since on average second births are quicker.

I have read each and every comment and after all the stories I feel a need to tell mine. 3yrs ago when my son was born (my 1st) I experienced PROM at 9pm and 38 weeks I sat up in bed to get comfortable and felt a gush… first baby and no support from a very uninterested husband i knew he would be of no support and clearly didn’t know I could stay at home and asked him to take me to the hospital. Upon arrival they checked me in to labor and deliver. Mind you 2 months prior I had set up my birth plan for a natural as little intervention medication wise as possible when I registered with them. They got me to a room hooked me up to every monitor possible checked my cervix, nothing. Then a nurse comes in hooks me up to an IV and another moments later comes in starts pitocin at the same time she is telling me she is starting it. I am a mess not sure what to say and my husband is useless in the corner. Feeling alone i figured they knew what they were doing. Moments later my contractions are so bad i am climing the walls. i had her that the man made contractions were far worse thus my choice to try and avoid this drug! I felt like a failure as I am pleating for an epidural! I am sobbing no longer able to manage the pain they gave me an epidural at 3cm… at that point I could feel nothing. Pardon the graphics but lost control of all bodily functions from the waist down. so not only do i feel I failed now i am embarrassed that I am a mess under my covers as nurses are changing me like an infant every half hour. I progressed to 9cm and thought it was happening, doctor came in and said that I had been in labor for 14 hours and that we needed to look at a C/S. The baby was face up and the feared he was measuring 11 lbs! OMG!!! No way I can deliver that 😦 Eyes filled with tears I didn’t question the professional. My C/S was a breeze and I deliver, get this a 7lb 7oz baby boy! So much for what they know. Fast forward january of this year I went into labor at 16 weeks with my baby girl. Not as I had hoped I had contractions, water broke and went into active labor. The contractions were strong but nothing I couldn’t breath through. other than know the worse was evident and that was the only reason for wanting pain relief. This proved to me that I can handle the contractions of labor! My husband and I wasted no time trying again and I am now 13 weeks and a nervous wreck but feel good in my heart about this little one! I am growing more interested in a VBAC as each day goes by I am remarried to an amazing man who is my rock and held my hand through a dark moment and will help me through our brightest moment. Thank you so much for you website I am looking into a doula in my area and will once again attempt my dream at having my baby vaginally.

Jennifer, your comment made me cry. What a horrific experience. You have time now – research, research, research. My story would have been the same as yours if I had not been very sick in my pregnancy and spent a LOT of time in bed, reading. I had 48 hours of back to back labour, and despite the midwife finally saying we had to consider a c-section at about 44 hours (she gave us so much leeway. I was only at 4cm when she said that!) I had a waterbirth in my kitchen. I delivered my baby with my own hands. If Amy will allow me, I’m adding the link here for you to see the pictures, to give you strength and motivation to do your research so that you KNOW what you can and can’t, should and shouldn’t so that you can have all the faith in yourself that you will need – especially if it isn’t going according to their ‘schedule’. All the very best to you. http://www.diaryofafirstchild.com/2009/11/18/birth-story-in-pictures-2/

Amy, your blog blows me away so much. I can’t tell you. I have linked this article to a new post I wrote tonight – I hope that’s okay with you. I’m starting to feel I’ll be doing that a lot! You’re amazing. I am in awe of your insight and experience.

sorry girls, I just lost my father and afther all my complicated deliver for my first and second baby, I just understand that no mather how, live is whats important. c-section, or not, simple or complicated, we are in this world, our kis are alive, and healthy, nothing more mathers, focus in the esencial thinks, said thanks to God because a lot of people cant have babys, I know is hard, but just find the esencials, love!

jennifer, I just read your comment. Sorry for my last coment, Im just so sad know…but you are so amazing woman and so strong! you will maked his time!

[…] travelling doula, DoulaMomma, who wrote a fantastic article with excellent research and studies on what happens when your waters break before labour. It really is well worth a read – as are the real life and real time stories in the comments […]

I went to the hospital within two hour of my water breaking, next to no contractions. I was admitted at one am but every doctor and nurse refused to check me for dilation due to risk of infection. I planned on an epidural and was getting severe contractions within an hour of being admitted. Still no one would check me. At 3am, my husband finally convinced a nurse to check me. I was seven centimeters. They got the epidural in just in time for me to push. Glad I went in!

My water broke and with it a small loop of cord. If I had not gone to the hospital right away we would have never known.

When my water broke, I had already been having contractions for 11 hours. Luckily, I was in the hospital already because I was getting close to giving birth (even though the OB who checked me didn’t think I was in real labor since I was only at 5cm when I got to the hospital). My water broke (naturally) at 240am and my daughter was born at 254am. (after getting to the hospital between 1-130am)

very good article and wonderful comments section…

i just wanted to share about my fourth delivery… it was quick and i was GBS+ with no antibiotics because as soon as i got to the hospital and in a room i was told to start pushing…

i am quite a bit angry about the whole thing… i was told that my new baby had to go to the NICU for five days of IV antibiotics… interrupted bonding and breastfeeding incredibly, and i already had extrenuating circumstances in the home… (my husband had left me when i was six months pregnant)

how do they know that she would have for certain gotten the strep infection? and why couldn’t they have just waited to see if she actually was infected? i feel so horrible for my poor baby (who is now 11 years old) that she had to endure such a long time without me while in the horrible NICU… especially because she looked fine and healthy

my water broke 31 hours ago and im so glad i found your blog! my water broke at 9pm on wed night and i was asked to come into hospital at 7:30 am. As soon as i got there i was monitored and told by the midwife id probably be asked to come back at 4 pm… then the doctor walked in. I was given an internatl and told they would go make a plan and be back in a moment. In walks said midwife with doctor and also another doctor who told me it was a good idea to start a drip and induce my labour as they were booked out for induction the following day. after feeling bombarded i was taken to a LDR room and asked to wait.
My husband and friend started to ask if this was what i really wanted as i had previously been saying i wanted the least intervention posssible, but i now felt i had no choice. After quick discussion we let the doctor know that we wanted to give the baby time to do it herself with no intervention and i left the hospital, the nurse almost shrieked with joy as i told her i was going home! she reassured me that i was infact doing the right thing.
Since i have been home i have been quite relaxed and have slept on and off when i have been comfortable enough to do so.
I am going back to the hospital in 3 hours or so but now i feel more prepared to question what i am being advised to do.. ill let you know how it goes…

My water broke at 6am this morning (I’m 39 wks). I’m gbs positive so the doc had me come in n put on antibiotics rite away. I was only 1 cm dilated so at around 9am I was put on pitocin. They kept increasing the dosage but I was only having weak contractions so they took me off of pitocin at 7pm and gave me pills to soften my uterus. I was put back on pitocin at 12:30am the next day. It’s 2 am now n still no strong contractions. Is there anything I can do to speed things along? The baby and I seem healthy otherwise. Just tired of being at the hospital for 20hrs now without any progress.

Thank you for posting this information!!! But please tell me, as a doula, what you would do in this sitch: Mom’s water bbreaks before labor begins. she calls you. you remind her of all the info in this post. she says she will rest and you promise to call back soon. You call back an hour later and she says she is on her way to the hospital because there is now meconium in the fluid she is leaking and she is scared that something might be wrong withg the baby. After being admitted she is told that she and baby are fine, but that they want to start pit. Mom says that she is already unhappy because she is in a hospital gown and has a heplock (Both things she wanted to avoid). Mom says she wants to go home and let labor begin naturally, but she is scared about the safety of the baby. What do you do when the doctor comes into the room and yells at her to start pit because she’s putting her baby at risk?

Hi there, my name is Ana and I live in Ohio. I had a c-section with my first (which I believe was unnecessary, long story) and I’ve been planning a vbac since I got pregnant with #2. (our son is 2 years and 2 weeks old). We attended bradley course, have an amazing midwife and doula and plan to deliver at home this second time.
I completed 36 weeks on wednesday and around 5 pm I felt that gush come out (maybe a cup, not too much) and it was clear then it came coming in small gushes and the pad was pink, had cramps all night then bled a little bit in the morning (midwife said it was normal) my baby’s heart beat is great and strong. Friday I had mild cramps on and off and some nausea and some constipation. Today saturday I’ve had no cramps, no symptoms, nothing except I’m still leaking small gushes (clear). I am feeling very discouraged because I feel like labor wont start and I am anxious. Midwife said as long as baby is okay I should give him more time since he’s 36 wks and 4 days now. I guess I just need some encouragement, this blog has helped me a lot though, thank you. I am just waiting now praying something picks up and my body kicks in!

Been there, done that! With my first pregnancy, I had PROM with no labor. The fluid was clear at first then a few hours later showed meconium. I was GBS+. I ended up having pitocin forced on me, much to my dismay, never got past 2cm, and an emergency c-section due to fetal heart rate dropping. I still beat myself up about it, but I have come a long way on the emotional healing journey. I am now pregnant with my second and going to try my best for a VBAC with a new and more understanding OB with a midwife in his practice. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this info… I felt so alone before reading this!

thanks so much for your post, i was so worried…it happed to me with my second child, i was 6 days passed my due date, and i went for check up in the hospital, my doctor swept my membrane, while getting home my water broke. the only thing that helped me was that i never knew about the risk or infection attached to it, but i didnt have sex and i did not examine myself. you wouldnt believe i spent 12days after my water broke without going to the hospital and without knowing about the risk attached to it and labour started one morning by evening i had my baby. Am now 40weeks 4 days pregnant with my third, am 1week passed my dur date, my water broke 6days ago and am waiting for labour to start on its own. thanks to your post i now know how to handle the risk of infection. i dont intend inducing labour, i want it naturally. thank you once again.

Just need some clarification. Being GBS+, do I need to go to the hospital when my water breaks to start antibiotic treatment, even if Im not in labor?

My water broke at 11pm on a Tuesday night and I went to bed! I figured that I needed rest. I woke up at 3am with water gushing. I took a shower, bounced on a ball, did some other light exercises. Finally at 9am, I was getting antsy and we went into the hospital.

They practically yelled at me! My doctor was still at her clinic, but she called to lecture me and said that I was only increasing my chances of a c-section. She insisted I go on pitocin, but I refused. She huffed, “Let the records show you’re going against medical advice” She was pretty upset.

All day I did lunges, bounced around, walked and walked and walked trying to get labor to start. No dice. Finally at 6:30pm (almost 20 hours after my water broke), I reluctantly took the pitocin. It was a hard and fast labor and my son was born by 11pm (all 9 pounds and 11 ounces of him!).

The doctor was definitely using scare tactics on me. I have never felt that attacked by a medical professional or that unsure of what to do. Awful.

I noticed that you didn’t mention anything about possible complications after your water breaks other than infection. What about fetal distress, intracranial bleeding, fatigue by the mother, etc. Most women don’t rush to the hospital out of fear of infection or that the baby is going to “drop” on the floor, they go because the process of birth has begun and being at the hospital provides a place of immediate treatment if something happens. I have four children and never did the doctor or any other staff member try to push me into meds or procedures I did not agree to. I, personally, would never risk my baby’s life because of a blog post such as this one.

Thanks for the very helpful info
with my first pregnancy my water broke on my due date so i freaked out and went to the hospital. they admitted me in and did the normal exams and told me that if i did not go into labor by 9 am that next morning they would induce me so nothing happened. so at 9 am the induced me with pitocin and still nothing happened so from 9 am until 6: 30 pm i was stuck at 2 cm’s so they made a quick choice to do a c-section again i wish i had known this info 14 months a go but i am almost 11 weeks pregnant with baby number 2 and this info has helped me very much to wait it out and just relax.

I’m wondering if you can give me some advice. I’m 39 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I’m due tomorrow. I had a textbook birth with my daughter 2 years ago. My contractions started and 12 hours later my water broke (in a trickle instead of a huge gush) At that time my contractions were 5 min apart and after my water broke, they were 90 seconds apart. I had her 6 hours later. Now my water broke this morning I thought, but it may have broken yesterday or last night. I woke up 3 times last night and experienced trickling of clear fluid. The second time I woke up, it was substantial enough to soak my underwear. Then I woke up at 6am PST and I had a much larger gush (still small enough to be a leak instead of a full rupture). It’s now 9:55am and I still have no contractions. I have read your blog and decided to wait. The leak is pretty constant and I know if I call my dr. she’ll send me straight to the hospital. I DO NOT want a c section! I would like to try some techniques to initiate the release of oxytocin and I was wondering if you could give me some things I can try. I’m trying the acupressure but nothing yet. I was thinking about bouncing on a birthing ball or walking around costco. I’m also considering nipple stimulation. I’ve heard the way to do this is to use a breast pump throughout the day for 20 min at a time. Is this correct? Please help me get my labor started! Thank you!


I’m glad I stumbled across this. I’m 39+ weeks, was checked by my midwife last night and was only 1.5cm dilated but I woke up to use the restroom about 45 minutes ago and when I stood up, I kept leaking… I’m not having contractions, and I’m not freaked out in the least. I hadn’t thought to ask about the scenario I’m in, though and being that it’s barely 5am, I don’t want to call the midwife especially since I’m not having contractions. I’m actually sitting in a warm bath right now just waiting for something to happen. Thinking about going to my mom’s to get in the pool to get active.

Oh my… I really truly wish I had someone to explain this to me 3 1/2 years ago. I was 41 weeks when my water broke. And when I say broke, I mean an uncontrollable gush much like you DO see in the movies. It happened while I was driving, but fortunately I was close to home. It happened at 4pm in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I called my midwife and she told me not to worry and to call if contractions started. That evening was somewhat uneventful… I was waiting to feel SOMEthing… anything! We ate dinner, packed, showered, called everyone in the family, and went to bed hoping to sleep (all the while the fluid never stopped coming). Around 1 am I awoke with worry. I think the middle of the night is the worst for making your fears naturally compound… I wondered why I didn’t feel the baby moving at all. After calling our midwife again she of course encouraged us to go in to the hospital in order to get the baby checked via ultrasound. But it wasn’t just an ultrasound, it was a vaginal exam every few hours just like the article explained. And even though we had the most wonderful midwife ever, because we were delivering in a hospital we were pretty much at the mercy of their rules. So after a full day of no “progress” or contractions, at 4pm on Thursday the midwife explained we needed to start using pitocin. I was so distraught over this. I knew what it meant… as soon as you start pitocin you have to be hooked up to monitors, IV, and with this hospital – no birthing tub. Pitocin brought on immediate contractions so fast and so hard that I had little recovery time in between. I was adamant about not having an epidural, but 2 hours into the pitocin drip I could barely catch by breath and wondered how i would make it through several hours of my body preparing itself for a birth that it wasn’t quite ready to have just yet. I ended up having two small doses of Staydol. God bless my husband and midwife for coaching me through the following 6 hours of excruciating back labor from a sunny-side up baby who was working her way into position. When I was finally fully dilated, my midwife was able to help turn the baby so that it was more comfortable for me to start pushing. After pushing for over 90 minutes, my daughter (surprise! Though she was a boy!) Liana Hope was born at 10:03 Thursday evening. I am grateful that I have a healthy little girl and was able to keep parts of my birth plan in tact during the process. But for the past 3 1/2 years when thinking back on the experience I couldn’t help but feel that it didn’t have to be such a “forced” process. I always was told and believed the “24 hour rule” and thought that something was wrong with me that labor never started naturally. I wished (first pregnancy always makes you nervous and prone to believing what medical professionals say is the golden rule) that I had been confident enough to LISTEN TO MY OWN BODY and hear that it wasn’t ready yet even though my water had broken. My fluid was clear like the article said and my little Lia was not under any stress. Her heartbeat had been normal the entire time I was “waiting”. Had we not checked into the hospital and had the vaginal exams, I dare to dream that my body WOULD have prepared itself and contractions would’ve started naturally within 48 hours. I think if we decide to have #2 that I’ll be a little more relaxed and comfortable with truly listening and trusting my own body to make those decisions. I hope that other Moms get to read this before their own experience of giving birth… I wish I had!

I so wish I would of found this last year score the birth of my first baby!
My waters broke, well trickled, at 38 weeks. Being a first time mum I rang maternity ward right away, they said come in to be monitored and then go home (i was 1cm at that point) and wait for 48hours and if nothing happened I was to come in and be induced. I had no idea I could go against what they were saying or ask for proof of, what I was led to believe, a huge risk of infection!
So nothing really happened except some mild cramps so was in the ward to get induced 48hours later. I was put on the drip right away at 7am. At 2pm I was having some contractions but nothing I couldn’t handle. The nurse actually said “you should be in more pain than this” and adv she was going to examine me again and break the waters properly. So yes, they hadn’t even broken properly!
I went to the bathroom and when I came out felt this gush where the whole of my waters went and omg I was instant agony it was awful, they had me on the highest amount of drip and I honestly felt i wasnt having a second between the contractions. I was forced on my back, the last position I wanted to be in, and poked and prodded until I eventually said just give me an epidural. My water birth and wanting to move around to help with pain out the window 😦
The epidural came that caused a huge drop in my babies heart rate and my bp. So theatre was made ready for emergency c section. Luckily his hr picked up and by this time I was ready to push. The paediatrician was an awful woman who kept going on about how if I didn’t push hard enough she was going to use forceps on me and she said it about 5 times :-/ I eventually did it myself after hour and a half pushing although she said it was “necessary” to give me an episiotomy which I didn’t want either. I even had to ask for anaesthesia and her response was “oh do you really need it?” that was so painful I dread to think what it would of been like with out it!
Sorry about the long post! Feels good to get it off my chest though as most people don’t understand how important it was for me to have the birth MY way. I am so glad I’ve found this as if it happens again I will not be scared into getting induced!

Well im pregnant with my first child (38 and a half weeks) and last week at my doctors appt my cervix was not softened at all but I think my water might have broke a little over 24 hours ago (4 days after my last appt) bit im not sure and now im having dull backache and also dull menstral feeling cramps in my lower abdomen my next appt is in 2 days but im thinking abouttrying to go in tomorrow to get checked out but now I dont know if I want to do that either because it makes sence that my risk for infection would increase with vaginal exams which I know my doctor will do hes already daid he wont let her go past the due date because of minor issues and was considering induction and/or c-section both of which I dont wantim not wanting medical advice more of a “what I would do…” lind of thing because like I said I just dont know
Also I loved this post and all the comments/other stories they really give a lot of different information that has made me feel a little better I havent been in to see my doctor yet thanks!

I sooooo wish I had read this before I have birth to my son last September. I had done SO MUCH research while I was pregnant, especially since I was so adamant about having a natural, unmedicated birth. I was very determined to educate myself beforehand to avoid being pushed into an unnecessary c-section. But it never occurred to me to research what options I’d have if my water broke early. At 27 weeks, I even switched to midwifery care from an B because I wanted someone on my side who was supportive of natural birth.

My estimated due date was September 8, but in the very early morning hours on September 2, my water broke. I wasn’t worried but being that this was my first pregnancy, I called my midwives office just to let them know what happened and to see what I needed to do. They informed me that their policy was that you must go into labor within 24 hours or you’d have to be induced. Of course they mentioned the whole fear of infection thing as one of the reasonings. This made me nervous because I knew that sometimes if you are pushed into an induction and your body isn’t ready to go into labor, it could end up in a c-section. This was one of my worst fears.

So in the meantime, I went about my day: did laundry, went grocery shopping, straightened up the house, etc. Unfortunetly, my contractions were few and far between, so per their rules, I had to check into the hospital. I asked about natural ways to jump start labor, but I ended up being pushed into having pitocin. But I was still determined to have a natural, unmedicated birth (aside from the pitocin), and that’s what I did.

The pitocin made my contractions extremely intense and I really don’t know how I went through it without any meds, but I am so thankful I was able to do it. But I still get a little upset when I think back to it because I feel if I had been armed with this info, I would have been better able to “put my foot down” and wait. I mean, they wouldn’t come to my house and drag me to the hospital if I refused to go in when they wanted me to – right? But I was nervous and didn’t want to take a chance since they made it seem so serious.

But I gave birth to a healthy baby boy later that night and I continue to fall deeper in love each day. Ultimately I am just happy he was born so healthy, but you can bet that I will arm myself with this vital piece of info before I have another baby!

Thank you for sharing!

My friend broke her water about 30 hours ago. Your blog and the posts are making me feel a little better. But, I am worried. What is the longest you think it is safe to go after POM without being in labor?

I’m 40 weeks and 4 days. I’m also high risk. I get blood clots from birth control pills. Lovely. So for the last part of this pregnancy I have to give my self a shot of heparin every 8 hours. They want to indue me. But, I didn’t go in yesterday when they called to let me know what time my appointment is at. So I told the nurse that I’m really not comfortable with being indused. She told me she can’t force me to come in; so I didn’t. I’m just not OK with piston. It didn’t work on my mother, so I was thinking I could be the same way. I really want to have this baby all natural. Also I’m not 100% sure if I’m leaking or not. Its been almost 24 hours since I started to feel like I leaked a little. And its been a on and off feelng all day. I didn’t call the doctor for about 12-16 hours after it started. Because I knew They would want me to come in right away and be checked out. (I was right about that too) I was really hoping that my contraction would start soon, but they haven’t. I’m still not sure if I even should go in tonight or tomorrow. I’m just not sure what I should do since I am high risk. I don’t want to do anything dumb. But every part of me keeps telling me everything is just fine. I’ve been listening to my gut. But how much longer is it safe for me to do so? I just don’t know. I so wish a midwife would have taken me. But, being high risk no one with on 4 hour from me would take me.

Hello, My first experience with hospital labor was horrible, I was 2 weeks late and they were doing the non stress test and ultrasounds to check baby and wanting to induce labor, then after the ultra sound they wanted to just schedule a c-section and not try labor at all. They said he was going to be 13 pounds give or take 2 pounds and with a gigantic head and they said it was not possible for me have him naturally. I refused and just kept on walking the beaches trying to start my labor on it’s own, eventually it did start my water broke with a huge gush at 4 in the morning and the contractions started super heavy only about a minute apart and very strong, I decided to go ahead and go to the hospital I was an hours drive away, and only went because how fast everything felt it was progressing. Before I got there my contractions had slowed to a crawl. They said I was dilated to a 2, and still wanted to do a c-section, they wouldn’t let me eat anything, and they didn’t want me to drink they just wanted me on a IV because they said I was going to have to have a c-section. I was miserable not eating and fighting with them for 24 hours and finally gave up in the end and had a c-section just because the baby was not coming and I was exhausted and miserable. They didn’t want to help him come down because they thought he was so big, but after the c-section they said I would have been able to have him just fine had he not been crooked. The side of his head was trying to come through instead of the top. After the c-section it was over two hours before they let me see my baby, they said they were waiting for me to have feeling in my legs, I was getting super upset because they told me before the c-section that as soon as I was out of surgery I could see him. Luckily the baby was with his father, who I told not to let the baby out of his sight for one second, so that helped me get through the waiting to see him. I don’t like doctors in the first place and going through that was awful, the c-section was miserable and I still have trouble with the muscles they cut.

Now with my second pregnancy I find myself in a similar position, I am over 42 weeks pregnant, and my water started leaking the evening of the 29th, it is a reasonably large leak (the fluid is clear) but no big gush like it was with my first child.I am not having hardly any contractions and am still active, walking and hoping to encourage the baby along, I feel fine and the baby is still super active as always, but I have not called the midwife, because I know she will want me to go to the hospital, I looked through all my birth books and information I have from the hospital and midwife and they have nothing in there about your water breaking and no contractions, it just says go straight to the hospital if your water breaks. I don’t want to go to the hospital and be miserable, but I still fear that I will do the wrong thing and something will happen to the baby since it’s been a day and a half, I wish he would hurry up and start coming. My mom is with me as well as my husband and my mom has alot of experience with helping with births, but I still worry. Reading your page has helped encourage me to stay home and stay relaxed and happy, it is sooo nice to find more information on this subject, I figure I can stay home eat and drink what I want and not be strapped to a machine and I can walk around and pat all my horses on the nose instead of walking in a hospital room. Thank you so much for taking the time to put all this information out for us women, we are so mistreated in hospital. I am hoping something will happen soon, so I don’t have to have a c-section or have the doctors prodding at me. I am trying to stay strong and not worry about staying at home, it’s encouraging to feel the baby being active though 🙂


Thanks for this article, I have been really trying to educate myself for this second pregnancy. With my first, I started contractions in the evening, went to hospital, cervix was progressing, then they broke my water. I got an epidural at 7 cm, even though natural was my plan, but I just couldn’t take it anymore. I rally can’t complain abut the labor because it was very nice. But once again, I want to do this naturally, and this time I think I will choose a midwife with hospital privileges.

I just found this and wish I would have seen it earlier. My water broke around 5 am. I called the hospital they told me to eat something, have a shower and then head in stating that i had to deliver within 24 hours of my water breaking. I was not having contractions and felt great once the water stopped leaking. No pain, just a little felt like I was wetting myself. I got to the hospital about 7am. I was only dilated to 1, still no contractions. I had no idea what was supposed to happen. I was 37 weeks and hadn’t gotten to the birth chapter yet (a bit of a procrastinator as well as convinced I was going to be late). They started pitocin around 9:30am. The contractions came super fast and were very painful. I got an epidural and by 11:30am, I was ready to push. It all went way too fast. I am reading all these posts and wondering why mine progressed so quickly. I ended up running into problems pushing. The baby just wasn’t ready. I pushed for 3 hours, labor did not progress, and ultimately I had a c-section. I had the baby at 3:37pm so basically less than 12 hours after it all began. The baby was healthy and perfect, and I recovered easily from the C-Section, but it just felt a little off and reading this is making me wonder what would have happened if I just stayed home. We are planning on having more kids so I just want to be prepared if it were to happen again in the future. I hope for a VBAC, but will do whatever is best for the baby. I just want to make sure I know what that is. Any opinions on why it would have progressed so rapidly and do you think that could have led to the c-section?

Whats the different between a doula and a midwife?


Very informative. Thank you. I am currently 37 weeks pregnant with my second child. I am waiting to see if my water will break before I begin to have contractions or contractions before labor. Therefore, while I wait… I read. 🙂

However, I think that you should be careful when suggesting that when a woman’s water breaks, it is not an emergency. You never know if that woman will fall within that atypical 10%. With my first pregnancy had I followed your suggestion to not go to the hospital soon after my water spontaneously broke; I would have had my daughter in our rural home with no medical supports available. During my 38th week, I was sleeping soundly, but woke to urinate. After going to the bathroom and back in bed I re-positioned myself then my water broke. A short 8 hours later my daughter was delivered as naturally as possible at a hospital (no interventions or medication, etc).

I agree with much of your thoughts. I value home-births and midwifery; in fact, I have a doula for this pregnancy, but I also know that the hospital has its place. Although, due to my own personal experience, had I read this during my first pregnancy and considering how far I lived from the medical facility I could have caused more trauma to myself and perhaps to my baby.

Overall, I think women lack education and like you mentioned often believe what they see in films versus reality or following their intuition. This leads to fear and submission of the ‘business’ of hospitals. More women need to feel secure in their position during labor and delivery. And, if they choose to birth at a hospital they should have an advocate who can express the mother’s wishes, etc.

Thank you for your time.

If I had read this during my first pregnancy and labor&delivery I would absolutely agree, However after having my second child where I had a premature rupture of membranes had I not gone to the hospital right away my daughter would not be here. Once my labor did start to progress my daughter was not tolerating the labor and her heart rate dropped significantly and if she was not taken out by emergency c section we would have lost her. The best Thing I can offer up to any woman is listen to your body trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right then go to the hospital and get checked out. there’s a reason your OB is a doctor. My daughter is now 3 weeks old and continues to fight in the NICU.

My water just broke and is leaking. Am not feeling contractions. Am not sure whether to go to the hospital or not.

My water broke almost 72 hours ago and I haven’t had any signs of labour progressing whatsoever. I am 39.2 weeks. I am continuing to leak amniotic fluid but am too scared to go to the hospital as I really want a vbac and I know I will be forced into a RCS. Baby is moving well and I have taken all necessary precautions: not inserting anything vaginally, no baths, increasing fluid intake. How much longer can I safely wait before consulting a doctor?

I waited a full week after my water broke because I was hoping for a vbac, the baby was fine. I still had to have a c section in the end but it was worth the wait trying for it, I say as long as u feel ok and the baby is moving ok and your avoid contaminating your vagina your fine. Follow your instinct 🙂 my son is almost three months old and a 12pounder and he’s super healthy.

My water broke 24hrs ago and my cousin had me rushed to my midwives’. Contractions started some 18hrs ago but they don’t seem to be making much progress cos I have been only 2cm dillated.
What does anyone suggest I do? Lie down or walk around? Its my first and the contractions hurt like hell but the slow progress isn’t very encouraging.

I suggest walking but also plenty of rest and fluids 🙂 follow what your body feels like and don’t feel rushed, labor doesn’t have to be a fast thing, the baby might still be trying to get into the right position so don’t let yourself be forced. Walking and gentle movements like rotating hips etc. Can help shift the baby into position 🙂

It has now been 3 weeks since my water broke and I am still continuing to leak small amounts of amniotic fluid daily, with barely any sign of labour. I’m now 41 weeks. My next doc appt is in 3 days and I know they’re gonna schedule a c-section which I really don’t want. At my last appt I did not tell them about the leak and luckily, they don’t do vaginal exams until active labour starts. Baby is ROA, moving well and fluid still seems to be replenishing. I’ve upped my water intake to about 2 litres a day, take 3 vit C tabs a day and no prodding down below. I have tried some natural methods to induce which did not work, homeopathic, accupressure, cohoshes and even castor oil. I guess I’m just starting to feel quite hopeless at this point. The most I get are some mildly uncomfortable BH ctxs which don’t last long and then taper off. I don’t know what more to do. Walking is limited due to severe sciatica, but I try as much as I can when I’m not in pain. Nipple stim doesn’t work, manual or pump, neither has orgasm (without penetration). At this point I feel like just giving up

Hoping you can give me some advice/encouragement?? My water ruptured 2 nights ago, I’m in the hospital on bed rest, had planned on another home birth so have no idea what to expect since I’ve never had a hospital birth.. yesterday my white blood count was 10.8, this morning it was 13.4, Dr said he wanted to induce, I got a little emotional/upset so he said we can wait and check blood count tomorrow 🙂 I really don’t know what to expect but was hoping I could make it to 35 weeks (next Wed 15th Feb) or at least another week!! Thank you!!!

Alessia and Ermanno’s story was soooo helpful! Congratulations to you guys! I also think my water broke about 72 hours ago but i have had no contractions, no fever and do not feel like it is time to give birth. This information was EXTREMEMLY helpful. Only me and my boyfriend know of my water breaking because we did not want to be pressured to give birth early. I was afraid of the “dry birth” myth but after reading that it is possible to seal back up and that the body continues to make amniotic fluid it gave me peace of mind. I’m glad i decided to listen to my body and my baby and not rush to the hospital and thankful that my boyfriend is supportive of my decision. I still feel good and have an appointment this coming thursday so we’ll see what happens! 🙂 thank y’all so much from this irst time mommy

I think my water broke 5 days before my son was born. It was as described, there was a slight pop and it came in three gushes, a very significant amout of slippery fluid, seemed to have mucous bits in it. But no contractions. My doc had said to call within 6 hours if this happened, but I was worried about these interventions so I waited 16 hours before going in. In that time my belly seemed to fill bak up, but didn’t continue leaking fluid. When I went to L&D they said there was no sign of amniotic fluid so I must have just peed myself, lol. I know I didn’t, but they weren’t concerned so I was happy to go home and wait it out. My contractions started another 24 hours after my L&D visit, and my son was born three days after that. During active labour, my water *definitely* broke when I was about 8cm, and it felt exactly the same as the first time, just with more fluid.

Hello! I am an Family Nurse Practitioner student (have been an ER RN for 12 years) and have a friend whose amniotic fluid is leaking and who is planning to wait at least the 72 hours before checking back in with her birthing center (which is why I was researching this as I had only been aware of the “24 hour rule” and my own labors have always been so fast I never had to worry about induction). While I was extremely interested in the study you cited it is quite old (1996). Is there any newer studies that you have found that continue to support these findings? In addition, I appreciate the Cochrane Review information as that is quite a bit more recent (2006) but it still may not have addressed the GBS question I was wondering what other evidence besides anecdotal stories you might have to support your claims. I have seen a few babies die or have bad outcomes in my own 12 years so those stories could just as well be told as the positive ones here. In my program we are not even allowed to use evidence from studies unless they are at least with in 5-10 years, preferably five. This makes me wonder if it was an isolated study? Nonetheless, I feel much more relieved after reading your posting as I was begin to worry about my friend waiting too long. I really like how evidence-based you attempt to be with your blog unlike many others I have seen. My friend has not been tested for GBS so that is a bit of a concern from me as well. Anyway, I would love to see updated references, if you have them, which would only increase the support you seem to have for your points. Thanks!

Well, 5 days after my water broke I gave birth to my Valentine Baby, Aiden. I’m a first time mom and had no complications. My labor was SUPER quick. I had no contractions or labor pain until i woke up @ 7:30 am. I showered, arrived at the hospital at 9 and by 10:59 am he was born. I didn’t even have time to get an epidural but everything went smooth thank god. My water rebroke while i was on the table so he was fine in there despite my water having broke before. He’s a healthy baby and neither of us had any complications. I’d advise any mother to be to just listen to their body and use common sense. I would’ve regret not waiting if I would’ve gone in the day it broke.

I’m sitting in hospital now at 33 week and water broke 24 hours ago. The doctors say that I should start contraction with in 48 hour but if not the will not let me go past a week. They will induce at 34 weeks. Kind of scary but sticking with it is all I can do

Well, from personal experience my water started leaking and I DIDNT go to the hospital right away, I waited around for hours then I finally went in. I did get induced and my daughter didn’t come quick enough (she can 17 hours after my water started leaking) and she got an infection and had to stay in the NICU. I WISH I would have just went in right away.. and I WISH that I would have asked for a c-section. Id rather go through hell myself then leave my baby in the NICU.

In your article you wrote that once the water breaks, “Of those, 90% will begin labor within 48 hours.”

When do you start counting down? I had a light trickle 4am on June 19 and more throughout the day. Then this morning at 7:45 am (June 20) I had a much larger gush with more water than ever before. Should I start counting the 48 hours from this morning (June 20) or June 19th?

Omg I wish I would have known all of this before. My rush to get to the hospital after my water broke is what ultimatly led to my csection.

Ugh I wonder if I should have not went in as quickly as I did. I was 36.5 days and I thought I was peeing myself. I called Dr and they said to come in and the would test the fluid. It was tiny gushes, a few times an hour. Well I had gestational diabetes and tested positive for GBS. After I was checked nothing was happening. I had a few contra

I’m so glad to have found this info, I’m 13 weeks on my 2nd pregnancy but my first was a c-section cause my water broke without any signs of labor, now I’m afraid it would happen again, so my question is how much fluid is it normal, cause for me it was just like peeing, and then again a few more times with blood until surgery, yes it was clear, no smell, but even so can somebody tell me if that amount is ok to wait until labor begins? thank you I’m just starting my research on this subject just in case it happens again! Any comments or further info will be truly appreciated.

Great reference, much needed info on one page, covers all of my concerns thank you.

[…] a c-section based on a series of seemingly insignificant circumstances and decisions – i.e. when your water breaks, pitocin and labor induction, position of the baby, […]

awesome information. My stepmom’s water broke this morning at 1am, they told her they would give her 24 hours before they induce. She said she will stay away from hospital as long as possible because she wants to avoid induction 🙂

[…] who said to just let her know when we needed her support. Just prior to lunch, I suspected that my waters were breaking. It wasn’t a huge gush like it had been with Spencer, so it was hard to tell whether it was […]

Thanks for the info, I was getting panicky. My water broke about 36 hours ago and I’ve had only sporadic contractions, and not even that painful.Some hope is restored 😉

What a great post and I love reading all of the comments…my water broke around 1am when I was about 38 weeks. Apparently I was told that if this were to happen that I needed to go to the hospital within a certain period of time…of course I didn’t know, or remember, that detail. I slept off an on for a few hours, but around 5am I couldn’t sit still as the leaking was quite heavy and was so excited that I would get to meet our first child soon and find out if we were having a Henry or Cecelia 🙂 I did some laundry, cleaned the kitchen up, ate breakfast, walked the dog, installed the car seat, ate more breakfast and then started to pack my bag…yes, I am that woman. A little laid back, but it counter-balances my husband’s excitement and nerves in these situations. Anyways, I called the on-call doctor around 9am (my doc was stuck in an unexpected hurricane) and after we spoke she encouraged me to come in to the hospital to confirm that it was amniotic fluid with a litmus test and have the nurse evaluate my contractions. My husband got his stuff ready (seriously, he brough more stuff to the hospital in his bag than I did!), I went to the bathroom, showered, said good-bye to the dog and then we packed up, drove the drug store (for snacks, magazines and a newspaper from that date for the baby’s memory box) and kind of took our time getting there. I was put in a room shortly after arriving and we confirmed that my water broke and they strapped a monitor on to watch my contractions (which I described as non-existent, I really didn’t think I was having any) and we kind of just waited…I wasn’t dilating much, but I was able avoid pitocin or other labor inducing meds by agreeing to a couple of digital exams (I had a dedicated nurse…she wasn’t leaving until she found out if I was having a boy or girl she said) and rolling side to side A LOT. I was worried that the epidural was going to slow me down, and it may have, but at 7:18pm I gave birth to a healthy 8.3lb baby boy 🙂 If we are lucky enough for a #2 and my water breaks like this again I will definitely take more time as long as everything is safe and sound.

My wife’s water broke a few months ago, and we rushed to the hospital. She had two things inserted in her immediately after arrival, a finger then some kind of q-tip to see if her water had broke. We had planned to do everything natural but ultimately ended up being induced (because family members got involved) and doing an epidural because the induced contractions were too strong. Right now I feel robbed, I didn’t get to hold my wife and bond with her as she was having natural contractions, I didn’t get to help her through it, I didn’t get to experience those things. But it could have been a good thing we were induced, our baby had the cord wrapped around her neck.

This site is helpful and I wish there was more information to help one decide. Our doc said that after your water breaks you will go into labor. The reason is because you will eventually get an infection which will cause your uterus to contract. This site didn’t mention anything about that. I just wish everything had the ups and downs posted on a wall so an educated decision could be made. WE do have a healthy and beautiful child and I am THANKFUL FOR THAT!

Every pregnancy is diferent and I feel like people shouldnt be telling people to wait it out.. What if that person who reads this waits it out and loses their child because of it? You always have to make sure your baby is fine. You are in charge if you don’t want pitocin or want to wait and see if you dilate it’s your call.

I was admited to the hospital with stress test and high blood pressure I went twice and I got sent back home but the second time they kept me because the amnionic fluid was getting low and my BP was high. I was tested and had vaginal exams to see how much I was efaced and dilated and it happended about 2 times plus when they ruptured my amnionic sac. One of the times was to make me dilate atleast 3cm with a “3cm balloon” inserted into my cervix. Anyway the point is..

Yes, when ur pregnant you go thru a lot but its worth it and no i did not get any vaginal infection after my labor and my baby girl was born perfectly fine:) So do what you think is right for your baby. You are the one in charge the baby can’t defend itself and say what it needs so make the right decision and pick the baby first.

In my case, we stayed home after break coz we were afraid of intervention, and an e coli infection cooked inside the uterus for 10+ hours without my wife ever gaving a fever or any indication of it till an emergency c-section (baby was in obvious distress in the middle of labor but not when labor begab) forced our hand. the baby is very sick and 2 weeks down, still hooked to ventilators and all kinds of machines in ICU. Be safe, go get checked out. We dont know if we will get baby back, and even if we do, dont know if she will be normally developed. Even if your ‘natural’ dreams go away, heck of a lot better than what we faced, what I woudnt want my worst enemy to go thru.

My wife’s water broke and we waited for labor which came in 6 hours. Long story short … after 7 hours of labor which is 13 hours after breaking, we had a very sick baby with e coli infection and major respiratory issues.2 week nicu stay. Be safe rather than sorry. So what if you get an intervention? Keep your kid alive.

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My daughter is 37wks and has low amniotic fluid. She has been put on antibiotics and bed rest. She is not in active labor. My question is will the baby suffer any long term consequences or deficits if she is not delivered within the next 24-48 hrs?

Reblogged this on The Farmers Martin and commented:
Great thoughts on an age old idea that is not main stream today. Patience is the key… which, for me, can be hard to come by sometimes! 🙂

My water broke 36 hours before my baby was born 🙂 Even with s;ightly yellow fluid, we waited, everything went wonderful…ended up with a precipitous labor!

I am currently sitting with my wife at the hospital. Her water broke about 30 hours ago, and we had waited 8 hours before calling our OB office to ask what was recommended, though no contractions or labor signs had started yet. This is our first baby, and she is 38 weeks along.

The doc on call, someone we hadn’t met yet at the practice, and therefore had been unable to discuss our birth plan with (we’d taken Bradley-method classes, and want an unmedicated, natural birth) told us that we ABSOLUTELY needed to come to the hospital right away. We called back to ask for a second opinion, but there was none to be had, so we “took our time” getting ready, and drove leisurely to the hospital a couple hours later.

After an initial exam, it turned out the water had indeed broken. However, no contractions had begun yet. Despite this, the doc told us we were here to stay until the baby arrives. We took the time to share our birth plan with her, and she said our desires for unmedicated, natural birth was “not TOO unreasonable,” and so she let us disconnect from the monitors after it was determined that momma and baby were fine. We got the feeling she was not 100% supportive though – but her shift was ending soon and so we weren’t too worried that she’d be delivering our baby anyways.

The nurses here, who are very friendly towards natural childbirth, encouraged us to walk around and stay well-hydrated, and so that we did. For several hours, my wife and I would take 30-minute walks around the hospital, come back to the room for a break and baby heart-tone check, and then go walking again. After awhile, the staff started to notice our frequent walks and would offer encouragement to my wife whenever we walked by, which helped her manage stress very well.

Eventually towards the early evening (we’d been at the hospital for about 9 hours by this point, and clocking 18 hours since PROM), she started to tire out, so she laid on the bed and I massaged her back with a massager for a few hours. The nurses checked the baby heart-tones every hour and things were still doing very well.

Then, though lightly at first, mild contractions started happening sporadically… And after an hour or so, they were 8 minutes apart on average. “EXCITEMENT!” we thought! But though these mild contractions continued regularly for a few hours, they soon tapered away.

At this point, a new doctor was on-call from a different OB practice, and he came in to greet us. SUPER nice and chill guy. He said he admired our birth plan, but wondered why we had come in so early. When we told him that our other OB doc had told us we had to, he remarked “Well that kind of cheated you guys a little bit, didn’t it? Sorry they had you do that.” It was nice to get some sympathy from a doc on this… We knew we had arrived far too early.

He was the first doctor to briefly mention pitocin to us though. He said that he would not force it on us, and that they were in no rush, but that he just wanted us to know that if we reached the 24 hour mark from the time the water broke, they might ask us again if we would consider a small dose of it, to see if it helped start anything, since the chance of infection begins to widen at that point. So we thanked him, and then continued walking a little more until my wife got too tired.

After a couple more hours, a new doc (third one now) again came to greet us, explaining that he was taking over for the previous one. He was friendly, and right away he noticed how tired my wife was (we’d been at the hospital all day, walking like crazy, and she’d been having more sporadic contractions, but nothing regular yet). He re-iterated, like the last doctor, that he respected our birth plan, but also that his personal opinion was that we may at some point require induction with pitocin. After a brief conversation, and more checking of momma and baby’s vitals (which were still super strong), he advised us both to get some sleep for the night, and we’ll see if anything labor-like has started by morning. He said that also, in case we do have to go to pitocin, he wants us both to have some good rest and be full of energy for it, as that could help give my wife the extra strength needed to tolerate the pain and not ask for an epidural, which he knew was her desire (and respected that).

Here is where I find myself now. I dozed for an hour or two, but thankfully my wife is still sound asleep. It’s been 29 hours since her water broke, and we’ve been in the hospital for 20 of those hours. Thankfully, the doc and nurses both have been okay with us pushing beyond the initial “24-hour limit” that had been previously mentioned to us. They seem very committed to helping us follow our birth plan as much as possible, and as a result they have not rushed us at all.

Sadly, going home is not an option at this point, as the doc said that his one and only concern is increasing the risk of infection. But they seem perfectly fine to let us be for right now. If the morning comes and we hit 36 hours since PROM without any sure signs of labor beginning yet, my wife and I have already talked about going ahead and requesting a small dosage of pitocin to be started. It’s not what we had initially desired, but we don’t care to spend a week in the hospital either. Plus, we’ve heard stories that sometimes, all it takes is a small whiff of the stuff to turn irregular contractions into definite, regular, labor contractions. If that’s all it takes, well then that will be awesome!

I will update this story with details of how it all turns out. Hopefully, our story will help ease some people’s minds (Especially if you’re a “Bradley” couple who is being faced with the potential of having to resort to some undesired medical interventions. Just remember what your instructor keeps telling you: no two births are the same, and occasionally, things won’t always go 100% the way you plan them to. It’s okay, you’re not a failure).

Overall, I will say that the hospital has been incredible to us so far, to let us sit in L&D now for as long as we have, waiting for labor to start. We both feel that if we do have to use pitocin in the morning, it’s a conscious and informed choice that we have made, and not felt pressured into much at all.

Keep an eye out for an update once our baby is born! I’ll be sure to post about how everything turns out!

I’m a labor and delivery nurse at an evidence based hospital. Rupture of the membranes before 37 weeks is PROM. After is simply spontaneous rupture of the membranes, or SROM. Please don’t wait if this happens. We put you on the monitor to make sure baby is fine and will check once to make sure there is a cephalic presentation and that there is no prolapse in the cord – which can kill your baby. After that, no checks. There IS a timeline for delivery and that’s good. Based on evidence, the infection rate increases the longer you are ruptured. All of our moms who get infected are the ones who didnt get prenatal care or the google educated people who think they can go 7 days with ruptured membranes. We do our best to make them comfortable because they will be at the hospital longer than usual visiting their infant in the NICU due to infection. Not worth it, in my book. We don’t jack them up on pit, we encouraged moving around, birthing balls, squat bars, nipple stim…all kinds of methods to encourage contractions. Pit is a last resort. Please be educated. If your hospital doesn’t do what you want, let them know. Regardless of policy, you have the right to refuse any procedure, medication, etc that you don’t want. Of course, if you can pick a hospital that is evidence based and follows all of the latest researched protocols and you should be good.

It seems to offer me a boost in my bodyweight loss efforts. I’m going to keep going with the nagging 10 lbs . I’ve been struggling with.

I don’t know what to do after two prior PROM. I had planned to give birth at a birthing center with Midwives with my first delivery. My water broke with a trickle about eight days before contractions started and I experienced a final gush about 6 hour before any contraction. I was told by my midwives not to sweat it, but just to keep super clean and not to touch anything around my vagina and as long as I didn’t have a fever I could wait for natural contractions. Well, when the first one hit I fell to my hands and knees, groaned and wasn’t able to breath until the contraction passed. It was sooo much stronger in the first contraction, I was completely unprepared. The thought that they would grow in intensity had me screaming for my husband to take me to the hospital and the promise of an epidural. I had to go though tons of first time patient paper work and ER steps before actually arriving at the labor and delivery wing. I really thought I was going to die from the pain. With my second I had a regular OB and my water broke while in for my weekly visit, so she sent me strait to the hospital and after zero contractions after four or so hours they started my pitocin drip. The contractions were all tolerable but I ended up getting an epidural after a while, mostly because they were worried I wasn’t breathing well enough through the contractions. I asked them to slow or stop the pitocin but they would not. The baby had several drops in heart beat near the end and they were talking C-section before the end but I pushed him out quickly. This time around I would really like to have a natural child birth but I can’t do those intense “dry” contractions for 12 hour either. I wish there was a middle ground for me to pursue. I have been looking into midwives at hospitals but then many of the same timelines apply. Could I get a little pitocin just to start and then stop to see if things will progress on their own? Apparently PROM runs in my family…

Excellent post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject?
I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thanks!

Everything I find is from several years ago..doubting I’ll have a response, but thought it’s worth a try. I’m 99%, sure that I’m leaking fluid. Not wanting to go the dr..But I have an appt today. So I’m tryin to figure best way to handle it. Due date is tomorrow!!

My waters broke 58 hours ago at 18 weeks… I have had minor contractions since then, which stopped in the middle of last night. My baby is not moving, my belly has disappeared and I have been passing clots, a huge one yesterday and many little ones since. There has been bleeding mixed with what looks like mucus. I have been bleeding and passing clots since about 13 weeks, but my baby was growing well and moving a lot, everything changed after my waters broke. I’m expecting the worst, I have been waiting to go into a natural miscarriage since yesterday, but I have no contractions whatsoever… I am sorry if I missed this information in your post, I am desperate for answers, please help.

I sure wish I had know this with my first two. My water broke and we headed to the hospital. I wasn’t having any contractions at all, they did exactly like you said, started me on pitocin. I’m glad I found this!! We are expecting our third child, we plan on using a midwife and doing a home birth, and I was worried about my water breaking but no contractions. Thanks for your blog, its put my mind to ease. 🙂

I am pregnant with my second child.my first was a homebirth which my husband got to deliver his daughter.no signs of labor no water breaking no contractions no nothing.well this pregnancy has been different I am 38 weeks and 6days and my membrane has a slow leak.it is hard to go against the grain but in the end your body will do it for you.I went against the grain with the first one and am planning it with my 2nd daughter.my mom is a nurse and my husbands mother used to b a nurse which they think their ways are the only ways which makes my pregnancy s more complicated.I am not a very religious woman but in the end my philosophy is this no matter where im at if its my time it will be my time. I also am one of those people who think what did they do in the olden days the answer is let nature take its course.so thank you for your insight it gives me the strength to keep sticking to my beliefs even when people aren’t agreeing with my choices in the end its about me and my daughter not them.so again rhank yiu

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I agree an excellent article I’m sending it to my wife right now.

My water broke prior to contractions starting. Doc said to check into the hospital. Full moon that night, some contractions started on the way in and I had my daughter less than 9hrs later (and I asked for an epidural). Prior to this I was dilated at 1cm for several weeks. I delivered 2 days early. Hoping my next one will be that easy. : ). I’m glad to have read this information so I know what to ask for if it happens again.

I just wanted to let you know, that I really wish I had known what you have just written here 7 years ago!

My water broke one evening at 39 wks. I was 21 at the time, and it was my first child. I had it in my mind that I did not want any unnessecary interventions, including epidurals and pitocin. Needless to say, I was upset and scared, and a call to my OB just produced an answering service which told me to “go straight to the hospital.”

Upon arrival, the nurse who admitted me said, “Here’s a gown honey. Go change, go to the bathroom, and enjoy walking around while you do it because you aren’t getting back up until you have your baby.” I went into my room’s bathroom and cried.

After I had changed, the nurse was already waiting with the pitocin. They started it immediately. They did not allow me to push when I felt the urge to. I was coached to do all sorts of ridiculous sounding things like hold my breath, push when I had no urge to bear down, etc. I was finally given stadol, because I was told I “was not trying hard enough.” (This also didn’t make sense to me.)

Eventually I begged for an epidural because they had to “turn up the pitocin.” I’m still not sure about that one. I also ended up finding out halfway through that not only was my baby breech, but he was also posterior. (Everyone was very surprised at this, almost 16 hours in.)

To make a long story short, I labored in total for about 24 hours. The attending nurse, who had been quite rude and insensitive to me, looked right into my eyes at about hour 23 and said “Well, looks like it’s to the OR with you…you’re getting a c-section!” in the middle of a contraction. More tears and despair from me. I had suffered all this time, and for what?

At that point, my doc made the decision for the anestheologist to give me one final bolus in my epidural – making #4 that I’d had. She pulled out the always-scary looking forceps, and proceeded to turn and flip my baby. It was a nearly out-of-body-experience type of pain. The anestheologist actually stayed with me and held one of my hands – what a sweet man. My son was born a horror invoking shade of purple, with huge bleeding trenches on both sides of his head. All I wanted was to hold him, but I wasn’t allowed to do that for nearly 2 hours later. They never told me why, and quite frankly I never want to know now.

In the time that my son was away from me, he was given formula, and I had a very difficult time getting him to breastfeed. His wounds on his head were also very severe, and I suspect that his refusal to breastfeed might have been due to the pain from suckling.

On the upside, I only had a very small tear, requiring one stitch (thank you, Kegels!)

I hope that other women read my story, and other women’s stories, and your writing, and they realize that these horror stories are all COMPLETELY avoidable in most instances, and that they arm themselves with this knowledge and stand up for their desires and needs!

It’s been almost 80 hours since my water broke and I’m monitoring my temperature, fluid, doing kick counts etc. I’m really happy to have found this site as the comments section has proved to be quite enlightening. I’m a ball of different emotions and feel very unsure about what to do but do not want to go the induction route if I can help it.

Thanks to the blog author and to the people who commented. Stacey, I’m very sorry to hear your story and I hope you and your baby recovered quickly x

I MUST leave a comment here because I originally read this out of curiosity when I was pregnant with my second. After reading this article and the comments, I felt confident that if my water broke before labor, that I could wait it out and not risk my babies health. Fast forward, at 38 weeks and 2 days, my waters started leaking in the morning! I wasn’t having any contractions. I called my midwife office and they told me to come in so they could do a fluid test to make sure it was my waters. It was. The doctor that checked me told me to go to the hospital right away and that I might be given pitocin since I wasn’t having any contractions. I cried at the thought. This was not the labor I wanted for my second child- I wanted all natural, no drugs. I called my actual midwife, who was to deliver my baby, and she said I could wait it out, but only for up to 24 hours tops after the start of the leak. (I’m guessing that “rule” for the midwives at my office is like that for liability reasons.) Well anyways I ended up going into the hospital that night (12 hours after the leak started. I declined pitocin and decided to wait things out. My nurses were actually studying midwifery and were extremely understanding and helpful. My real contractions started at midnight and I walked and rolled them out with the exercise ball. I think of myself as lucky to have had the great nurses there with me. Midwife arrived around 2 am. I took a shower and the midwife did nipple stimulation. Contractions really picked up then, and the rest of my water poured out! Baby was born healthy and drug free at 6:15 am!

I do realize that my water didn’t entirely break, and that it was just leaking. But there are plenty of women out there who would have been led to believe that it was pertinent that they get to the hospital right away and get hooked up to Pitocin. Same rule applies here- it’s was not a needed intervention in my situation. I live in Michigan by the way. I am so happy I read this article before the end of my pregnancy! Thank you ladies for you comments as well!

Morning time in Africa,
My wife’s water breaks yesterday morning @ excatly 9.30 am while we were at the hospital on Docs advice for C-section if there is now improvement on the contractions but I insisted for no C-section. Now is 23hrs after her water as broken and her dilated reading still @ 4cm. What advice do you have for us as we are ready to further wait to see if labour will progress for her safe delivery rather than having C-section bcos we’re first timers. We are hoping for God’s miracle.

My water broke at home when I was 39 weeks and 5 days and was clear. I went straight to the hospital because that’s what I was told to do even though I wasn’t having any contractions and wasn’t in pain at all. I was put on pitocin within a couple hours and then got an epidural a few hours after that. I finally reached 10cm after almost 24 hours of labor, but I just wasn’t able to push her out so I ended up having a c-section. Next time around I will definitely wait if my water breaks early.

My water was leaking at 37 weeks. Went into the hospital and was already dilated to 5 centimeters and counting without feeling any pain or contractions. I don’t think I would take that risk of waiting for labor to start on its own if I didn’t know it had started in the first place.

I am going to comment before I even finish reading this. THANK YOU for this great information!!! I am pregnant with my 3rd baby, my first two babies were born after my water broke. Both “needed” to be rushed along with pitocin, so of course I got the epidural because it would be “too painful.” I was scared into believing the pain would be unbearable, and that I would get an infection. I would love to do a hypnobirth, and labor at home as much as possible. I am scared my water will break again, I will go to the hospital and be told to hurry it up!! SO this information is easing my mind, I am very thankful for this!!! Awesome facts and information!

Maybe you can shed some light on this topic for me. I delievered a healthy 8lb12oz boy 8 months ago, and before he was born, I was diagnosed with gbs. My water broke around 11:30p the day he was due. I was told to go straight to the hospital. When I got there, I was on the clock, so to speak, and was treated with antibiotics. They insisted on giving me pitocin (which was NOT in my birth plan) around 10:30a. I still insisted on no pain meds!:) however, after 24hrs of being at the hospital, they started handing me consent papers for a cesarean. So it happened. They rationalized it because “his head was big and he would never have came down”. Not to mention the scare tactics of how I would be endangering my baby by dragging labor out. (They even sent in a neonatal doc!) They said “we’ve let you labor enough”. I thought I was educated and empowered. Yet somehow, in that hospital room, I sat there confused, alone, afraid. What happened? Was it necessary that I have the cesarean? Could I have left the hospital? What were the odds of having a vaginal birth without an infected baby? Would you reccomend a home birth/vbac in the future?

My water broke many times during my first pregnancy from 28 weeks. The first time we went in and they gave me drugs to stop the contractions. But he was ready to come out then and I felt it would have been okay if he had. I refused to allow them to examine me vaginally and they yelled at me and were rude but no infection. Afterwards my health deteriorated so much! BU, the amniotic fluid topped back up as was shown in the ultrasound so they let it be. I kept going into labour and my waters would break and I would have contractions for a day or so then it would stop. I kept being sent home….. I got shingles, I felt like crap, I was itchy all over. It kept happening, my waters broke over and over, but the amniotic fluid topped back up. The only thing I would note is that each time the waters broke it was a bit more painful. It stung a lot the last time. I think it kind of thickened and scarred a bit? But I am not sure.
Eventually when i was 40 weeks they let me continue labouring, labour of hell, no support, traumatic episiotomy and they took my baby away and I was very damaged emotionally and physically from it.
Turns out, only after seeing my GP after birth, I had developed late gestational diabetes, cholestasis of the liver, my kidneys and liver had started to fail, my blood sugar was sky high, I went into ketoacidotic shock during labour, went into a complete delirium ( my poor husband!) still the midwife would not call a doctor and left it till the next day. Turns out she didn’t even read my file. I remember coming round and seeing a sea of very scared doctors faces, they avoided me completely afterwards. After the episiotomy from hell and the baby being pulled out they took him away and parked me in a hallway on my own….. I was sooooo sick and scared.
All with no medical treatment, I may as well have stayed home and done it alone. I got a written apology from the hospital but it doesn’t help me feel better at all.
This is my 3rd pregnancy (one miscarriage) more than 3 years later and I am facing all the memories again. Its hard.

I am so glad I found this page. My water broke Sunday morning at about 2 am. I was 38 weeks. I was freaked out and unsure what to do. My husband told me it was unnecessary to go to the hospital. I went online and found this. I had been planning a homebirth with a midwife and knew that going to the hospital could disrupt these plans. I went back to sleep and called my midwife in the morning. She confirmed that it was not an emergency and gave me instructions on how to stave off infection and what to look out for. I finally went into labor Tuesday evening. I was leaking fluid for those few days. I had no infections, had a successful, all natural homebirth Wednesday, and am sitting with my healthy newborn at the moment. Trust your intuition but take precautions as well.

I wish I had come across this article before I had my daughter! I delivered her via c-section after what the doctor told me was a stalled delivery. After 12 hours, it was his medical opinion that the labor would not proceed and so we needed to get baby out asap. First off, I wasn’t even aware that he was going to break my waters for me 12 hours previously, he just did it after he said he’d wait. Fast forward 12 hours, (24 hours total of being in the hospital after induction) he says that I’m showing signs of infection (after he gave me a vaginal exam 3 times after breaking my waters) and we need to get baby out RIGHTNOW. After my c-section, I hemorraghed and almost had to have a transfusion. I was very traumatized by my birth experience and have been diagnosed with post partum depression. I feel like I was robbed of a semi-decent birth experience because there wasn’t a midwife or doula there to say “Hey, let’s try these techniques before we intervene medically.” I was already on pitocin because they induced me due to late stage pre-eclampsia (which they didn’t even tell me I had. I found out after looking at my medical records months later). *sigh* I digress. It’s now 8 months later and I’m wishing I had done more research or just had hired a doula but we didn’t have the money for it at the time. So sad.

Hi I just wanted to share my experience with my first two pregnancies ,my water broke at home around 3-4pm both times n with the first baby after about 5-6 hours later I gave birth . With the second it took about 3-4 hours n I’m hoping this time around ( I’m 6 months pregnant) it will be only a few hours after giving birth.. But after reading these I’m kind of worried I do NOT want to wait more than at least 10 hours after my water breaks to give birth . So hopefully it goes smoothly like the rest 🙂

Hi Amy, I just want to share my story and also get some advise for my next delivery due in Jan inshaallah. My water broke at exactly 40 weeks and we called the delivery suite and were asked to come in. The midwives did an internal check with a speculum with an explanation that they just want to make sure that it is indeed the water that broke. After that, the midwife has informed us that it is the practice of the hospital (in Darwin, Australia) to send these cases home because labor hasn’t started yet and it’s more relaxing to wait at home. We were asked to come in after 18 hours for induction. We were of course reluctant but in no way that they will make us stay as they already cleaned up my bed for the next user. We were told to check my temperature but no information that this is so to monitor for inspection. We were given a piece of paper containing brief information on PROM but by that time me and my husband couldn’t really concentrate on digesting what’s in there. So we did go home and the labor started next day after 15 hours from the time my water broke. I was putting small towel just to catch the liquid as I read it in one website. On the way to the hospital, I started shivering. It turned out I had a fever so they started to monitor my baby and 6 hours later decided for c-section as the baby’s heart rate starts to slow down. Did I get infection because they did an internal check? Or because of the activities I’ve done while waiting? By the way I stayed in the hospital for two weeks because the infection sprwad to my blood. Looking back, we are thankful that me and my baby are fine. But this second time round, i do want to stick to a birth plan. My next baby is due after 18 months since my first? How can I do this second with a VBAC? Thanks ver much Amy and Godbless!

I wish I had known this when I had my 3rd baby. My 1st, my water broke (more like exploded!) and strong contractions started immediately. My 2nd, my water trickled out and I walked and walked and walked and contractions started regularly within a few hours. My 3rd, my water broke (again, more like an explosion) and I went straight to hospital out of gear but I had no regular or strong contractions for going on 10 hours and the doctor was trying to convince me to start pitocin. I didn’t want to so she said ok but that if nothing was happening by 12 hours, I should reconsider. She kept working on me to agree and I eventually caved and my daughter was born 3 hrs after starting pitocin. The baby and I were both fine and healthy in the end but I was really against any intervention and I think it made my unmedicated laboricj more painful than it would’ve been without pitocin.

When I was 39 weeks with my second my water spontaneously broke at 2 in the morning while I was on the computer looking for ways to induce labor. I went to the tub and peed to make sure it was my water and also to make sure it was clear then I went to sleep. Woke up and just walked around called a few people and my ob. They wanted me in immediately but I took my time anyways having my mom stop by a book store because I hadn’t picked a baby name and mc donalds because I knew they wouldn’t let me eat. Got to the hospital around 2 and they kept trying to push pitocin and I refused. At 4 contractions were regular but they didn’t consider me in active labor and tried pushing pitocin again. I refused and sucussfuly made it to 7 cm before begging for an epidural and a hour lasted my little girl was born perfectly healthy. ^_^

I would beg all women to please be cautious. My waters broke, and it took another 12 hours for me to go into labor, then I labored at home in a birthing tub for a while, and ended up at the hospital about 20 hours after my water broke. My son died because of an infection. He was perfectly healthy, normal, beautiful…I had an uneventful pregnancy, but I was not able to take my son home. I have to live with this forever. And, I always have to wonder if it was my fault. PLEASE have a way to monitor the heart rate, PLEASE be cautious, PLEASE keep in mind that terrible things can happen, even after a beautiful, healthy pregnancy. I know I am the exception to the rule, but if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.

Wish I had known this before. Would have waited until my contractions got more noticeable before going to the hospital. My water broke at 9am, vag exam at hospital triage at 11am and was barely feeling contractions. Admitted around noon and nurses immediately pushed for pitocin. When I asked them why and who ordered the pitocin they started arguing with me and my husband. This totally stressed me out and therefore slowed my contractions. Had to practically beg them to let me speak to someone else and to let me walk around a bit and get some food. Walking around DID help my contractions pick up again. But the minute the nurses returned to push me to get the pitocin started my contractions would almost stop. Long story short, ended up with a c-section at 6am the next morning. Most aweful experience ever!

My water broke 53 hours ago (I am 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant) and I have had NO contractions at all (3rd baby in 4 years). I feel fine and baby is still kicking. Fluid was clear and plentiful. I am starting to wonder what I should do…any ideas?

What did you end up doing mine broke about 50 hours ago and im 37 weeks and 2 days he’s moving fine good heart beat and clear fluids.. i just dont want to be induced if i dont have to but at the same time how long is too long to wait before going in.. this is my 8th pregnancy and 5th baby but this is all new ive only had my water break once and i was 27 weeks and made it to 29 before i had to deliver due to risk of infection.. i feel fine but i still worry because of all the horror stories the great google searches give you. I just dont want to push my luck or put my baby at risk..

I’ve experienced at-term PROM with all three of my labors. With the exception of the first labor – which was started artificially with Pitocin, followed by a cascade of other interventions – my contractions began naturally on their own within 12 hours. Each of my babies was in my arms within 25 hours. I am now in the final weeks of my fourth pregnancy, and I fully expect another at-term PROM experience. We live 90 minutes from the hospital, and our midwives have asked that we come in if I rupture, in part because of the distance we need to drive and in part because they want to monitor baby. My husband is insistent that we will go in for an evaluation, but then we will leave to labor at a nearby hotel. This was his idea all along, and I have tried to talk him about it, stating that’s too much hassle, we’ll be wasting money, I might be loud through contractions and get us kicked out, etc, etc. But he has stayed the course on this one. He is sure awaiting labor and then laboring in the hospital will be detrimental to me, and he’s just not going to let it happen. “We’ll go in when you begin active labor. Period.” is what he says over and over again.

I share this because I want people reading these comments to understand the vital importance of a supportive and well-informed partner. I am the hormonal, vulnerable mama, which means no matter how well-informed I might be, I am likely to be easily influenced and convinced of a plan different than what is best for me and my baby. My husband is a fact-based, logical thinker who can remind me of the evidence, our history, and our plan when the powers that be are trying to persuade us to abandon what we know is the best choice for our baby.

Husbands – empower yourselves with information! Wives – ask you husbands to be your heroes! And always hire a doula who can back up hubby when he needs a break from fighting the good fight for you. While a doula cannot be your voice, she can remind you how to find your own when the time is right to just say no to interventions.

Jennifer Rusch
CS mom, March 2008
VBAC mom, July 2009
CBAC mom, October 2012
VBA2C hopeful, due March 2014

Oh man. I must be in the small percentile. I have fast and furious labors. All three of one were under 4-5 hours tops from water break until birth. I get bad cramping while water breaks and then after all the waters are out…babies coming quick and contractions are really intense. But I can’t complain. All 3 of mine were hospital births but I got lucky and never had pushy nurses or doctors…..maybe I did but I push for what I want. I had two natural labors and one with an epi.

mine are the exact same way so far 2 out of the 3 (currently expecting)

Is It Important To Go In Right Away If You’re Water Breaks And You’re Preterm? MyWater Broke With My First Two (One At 37 Weeks And The Second At 33 Weeks) With Both It Took 19 Hours With Little Progression. With My Second They Did Put Me On Pitocin To Try And speed It up. I’m 25 Weeks Now And Reserching How To Strengthen My Bag Of Waters To Try And Prevent Another Preemie. I’m Also Getting The Progesterone Shots. But The Not Going To The Hospital Right Away Is New To Me And Sounds Like A Good Idea. BTt If I’ve Had Complications In The Past Is It Best To Go In Right Away?

I was planning an unmedicated water birth and so excited to go into labor. Everything was great, I was really enjoying my pregnancy..until my water broke at 38w 5d and nothing happened for 24 hours. We tried every labor induction method we heard of, still labor never started. At this point I didn’t know what to do. I was scared of Pitocin but also scared that if I spiked a fever, infection would have already set in and who knows the damage to my unborn child. So I went in at 24 hours and they gave me Pitocin up to the highest dose, another 24 hours. I only got to 3 centimeters. It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt. My sweet strong boy never showed any signs of distress, but nothing was happening and I knew if I kept going eventually he would. There was nothing left but my worst fear: c-section. They said that his cord was wrapped around his neck twice, and tight. He was also OT. I’m not sure if his position itself played a factor but the on call Midwife said the cord probably held him back. Who knows. All I know is it was the worst experience of my life. Even though my son is a miracle and I’m so happy to have him safe and sound, it is still a rite of passage that I missed out on, and I’m sad and disappointed. Who knows when, or even if I’ll be ready for another child and to take the risk of a needed RCS (I will not let care providers bully me; even if I have to relocate for supportive providers I will.)

From my research and understanding meconium presence alone is not reason for concern. It is when it is paired with other symptoms that it may indicate baby is in distress.
It is certainly a tough decision to make. I am nearing 35 weeks and I hope I won’t have to make such decisions. Planning an hbac:)

Hi Amy,
LOVE this page! Thank you! First pregnancy-timer here!
My water has broken and it itself is clear, but what I assume is my mucus plug is completely brown (and mucousy :)). I declined going to the hospital for PROM but am now a bit worried that perhaps what I thought was mucus is actually meconium. Looking for images on Google does NOT help! :p How can I be sure that the plug is/was in fact the plug (I seem to have more than the normal amount as well with WedMD saying more than two tablespoons is reason for concern – sounds like hocus but want to make sure?)? What does meconium in waters look like? And when you say particulate consistency, what does that mean, itty bitty pieces of meconium in water?
Sorry so many questions! I want to be responsible, and with having to deliver here at a hospital and without the aid of amazing doulas and non-medicalized midwives, (home births are illegal in Bahrain), I have to do my best to be educated before ever walking in! Also, you mentioned kick counts as a way to make sure all is well – is it 10/hour that I ought to look for? And is it ok if water bag has a pretty big leak? It’s definitely refilling but just want to make sure the baby is safe! Is it possible for even a bigger leak to mend? Sad that going to a hospital is sometimes the least safe or sensical way, but it is what it is! SO appreciative to have such an amazing resources due to your willingness to support and share your knowledge the world over… Thank you so very, very much. One last question: how less cushioned is baby? Is it ok to still lay in the side-sleeping position with belly forward, effectively partially on top of babe?
From the bottom to the top of my heart, thank you.

My first labor began with a slow leakage. Contractions were followed a few hours later. Start to finish was six hours. My second labor began with a large gush of fluid. Thirty minutes later, contractions began at three minutes apart. 90 minutes after the water broke, my baby was born. Had I not rushed immediately when the water broke to get my husband home, the toddler to the neighbor’s, and crawl through rush-hour traffic, the baby would’ve been born in the car!

[…] of membranes(PROM) the labor starts within 48 hours in 90% of the cases (source of this information:Doulamomma) and Madhavi told the same thing..so I decided to wait..yes I was scared deep inside,what if there […]

im 40 week 6 days , my water just broke while im in the bathroom im soo scared but i had to calm down and check the net what to do ,im so happy i came cross this web , i was about to run to wake up everyone at home its 0730am Sunday and everyone sleeping , i dont have contraction just mild discomfort , i will try to sleep or take rest and tell them the news when they are up , cant wait to see my baby boy, thanx again for the information its really good to know what u will face and have choice to make .sam

[…] I came across this article about ur water breaking and inducing labor, I only had a chance to read thru some of the comments but it was very informative. And I went back and looked at my 36 week packets and it says "if u think ur water broke- note the time it occurred, the color of the fluid, odor if any, and the amount, even if you are not having contractions" so I guess I'm going to have to ask my ob how long I should wait at home before going in but in the same packet it says don't call until it contractions are 5-1-1 5 minutes apart, lasting longer then 1 min for longer then 1 hour……I really hope my water doesn't break first LOL apparently it's not common only 8% chance of being the first sign of labor https://doulamomma.wordpress.com/2009…-labor-begins/ […]

I wish I had read this article last week 😦
I went to hospital when my waters broke. 2 days later I was still there and labour was induced. No epidural as i had a good natural experience with my first baby, but this time the pain and pushing was so much worse because of induction and the fact I got no sleep in the hospital for the 2 days so my body was shattered.
If this ever happens to me again I will be staying at home where I can relax and get some much needed sleep.

Wow I wish I would have been more informed about this rare occurrence when it happened to me!
I woke up one morning at 40 weeks and 3 days with lots of clear fluid I changed my under wear 3 times that day so sure it was my water leaking! It was finally the day to have my baby! ( I had planned for a natural birth with no intervention) I had an appointment with my midwife in a hospital setting later that day so I did some chores and went in she did a swab test and it came out negative no amniotic fluid! What a bummer I was so sure today was the day.. She then asked me if I want to be checked for dilation so I was curious so she checked me when she accidentally broke my water!! Well I guess today will be the day!! She sent me home for 3 hours then wanted me back to the hospital, I had the craziest leg/hip contraction (which ive never heard of anyone having) i never felt any pain or cramping in my stomach or back. I got to the hospital at 8:00pm and they didn’t check my dilation until 1:30am. I was only at 2 so I gave into receiving pitocin which my baby didn’t like so they never gave me much which I did ask for the very minimum dosage.. After 14 hours of leg/hip contraction and still at 2 cenimeters I broke down and got an epidural.. 27 hours later I starting running a fever I did progress to 5 centimeters.. I ended up in the operating room so upset!! What had happened to my natural birth plan!! At the end of the day I have my perfect baby boy 8.10 pounds!

I would like to share my birth experience.

My water broke before going into labor when I was 35 weeks pregnant. I had just had a huge Italian meal with two other pregnant ladies and our husbands. We stayed up uncharacteristically late (11pm – though as it turns out I never went to sleep) because we were having so much fun. I sat up really straight all night, which was also not usual for me – it just felt right for some reason, even on a slouchy couch with comfy clothes on. We gathered at my friend’s door to say goodbye right after taking a picture of our three bellies together (one friend was 38 weeks, the other 36 weeks – we met at birth class). My husband had just been telling the other dads that we were ready for our son to arrive, and my Spring Concerts had just concluded (HS music teacher) the two nights before.

Apparently my son received the message loud and clear, because suddenly I wondered if I had peed my pants. I went to the bathroom and decided that it was most likely my waters breaking. We called the hospital for advice and they told us to come in. I knew what this meant, but was confident that my hypnosis tracks would get me through labor. We had two great choices for hospitals that were the same distances from our house – one had better lighting and midwives, the other had a NICU. We switched our plan from the first to the one with a NICU when my water broke.

We stopped at home first and I picked up my birth binder and everything from the list I had assembled before that day. We called my mom, who lives two hours away and was planning to be there for the birth, and listened to some relaxation hypnobabies tracks on the way to the hospital. Contractions had not begun and I felt calm.

They checked me into the hospital with ease and explained the difference between continuous and intermittent (which was in my birth plan) monitoring. I realized that continuous actually afforded me more freedom and abandoned my birth plan to choose continuous monitoring. The doctor told me that they preferred to have labor going within 24 hours and that would likely mean induction, but I asked for some time on my own two get labor going. The doctor agreed easily to give me 4 hours alone with my husband. My doctor also suggested I would need antibiotics because I had not had a Group B strep test. I requested time to think about how I felt about what that meant for me and my baby (hello, Google!). My doctor agreed to wait. At 1:30am, I started my Hypnobabies “Come Out, Baby” track while my husband helped me start labor. Every contraction felt like a victory, and I could see on the monitor that the numbers increased as the contractions felt stronger. I didn’t know what the numbers meant or how high they could possibly go, but I was happy to feel like labor was progressing. My husband and I danced and really enjoyed the first couple hours of early labor. As the pain began to intensify, I moved into the bathroom to labor.

The doctors and nurses came in to check my progress, and asked me if I wanted to know the number, which I did not. But as my doctor left, she told me to let them know before I started pushing. I took that as a positive sign, plus the fact that pitocin was not mentioned.

I returned to relax on the toilet and eventually had to stand up and lean on the sink while some serious contractions passed, going back and forth between toilet and sink. I thought before that time and also during labor that my son was positioned beautifully based on his movements…but I also was really feeling the pain in my lower back and knew from watching birth videos that it might help to have my husband push in on my back hip bones. My husband responded perfectly and really helped me through the back labor (my son turned out to be posterior). At one point, I figured I might as well try the shower since it was there as a tool to use – and that really helped for 20 minutes or so.

My mom arrived shortly before 5am, when my doctor measured my cervix again; this time I was ready to hear a number. 8cm, so I knew I was in transition. I returned to the bathroom, waiting for a clear sign to push. In the absence of that by 7am, I decided I was done with the pain and tried a little pushing on the toilet. Since it did make the pain diminish, I alerted my team that I was going to start pushing for real. At this point, I relinquished the control that I had felt in labor up to that point – I was no longer confident that I knew what was best. I tried leaning over the back of the bed, but that was uncomfortable and tiring. After trying some different positions, I finally settled on the one position that I thought I would avoid – the traditional hospital cliche that had me lying on my back in bed. But it was comfortable, and I was tired.

I started to worry not about the pain, but about my weak body. Why had I not weight trained? (Because I hated it and heavy lifting was not recommended for pregnant women…but in retrospect I wish I had at least strengthened my arms, core and legs to some extent). Would I have the physical strength to make this happen? My son’s head kept showing itself to my husband, mom and doctor…but would not pop out. Finally my doctor recommended something that I requested in my birth plan to avoid, an episiotomy. Without hesitation, I screamed “Do it!” Two or three pushes later, and my son was born at 8:24am, 9 hours after my water broke and 7 hours after my contractions began. We escaped pitocin, pain meds, and antibiotics. My doctor knew that I wanted to delay cord cutting and have immediate skin to skin. She tried to tell me before the episiotomy that I could only delay the cord cut if the baby was held beneath my body for gravity related reasons – I told her that I had researched the matter and that he would be placed on my belly while the cord was still attached. My husband later told me that it was an awkward moment, but the doctor did not argue with me.

My son was perfect and never left my side. We took him home after 3 days. We used a nursing shield until his due date because he didn’t yet have the cheek fat to suction properly, and brought a biliblanket home to use for 18 hours to clear his jaundice when he was 5 days old. He is now 20 months old and nursing/napping as I write.

I am still so confused after 2 births. My first labour I had contractions but waters were broken by midwife. Labour soon stopped & I ended up with an emergency c section after baby went into distress from synthetic oxytocin. It was a traumatic experience that lefts feeling guilty & grieving for the loss of giving birth naturally for years. I was determined to try & give birth naturally on my second birth. This time my waters broke but I had absolutely no contractions. I was heading to bed to rest buty husband

well when my waters broke with my 1st & 2nd, labor immediately begun and I delivered only a short time later. Therefore, for myself it does mean get somewhere ASAP

I do not agree. I have 3 children and each labor was completely different. I would like to say, my water broke at 41 weeks without being in active labor for a little over 24 hours. I waited to go to the hospital until I started active labor which was almost 24 hours later. Once labor started to progress every 4-5 minutes over a few hours, the doctors examined me but no dilation. Again after another hour I was examined and again & I only dilated 2 cm. This went on for another 24 hours so now it’s been 2 days after my water broke, a day of active labor and the most I dilated was 2cm. My baby started to go into distress, my placenta started to shut down and my fluid was very very low. After almost 72 hours, I had to get an emergency C section. The exams are very necessary after your water break because every woman body cannot deliver natural birth. You can be in active labor for days after your water break and not dilate which in itself causes bacteria to flow in and the only way to know if your dilating the way you should or not is if you are being examined. So this post is soo crazy to me to think that after your water break, the less examines you received will lessen your infection. Your examines can very well save you and your baby’s life.

Ive had really fantastic hospital births with both of my two boys. With my oldest, my water broke at 39 weeks and because I was kind of young; i was 19, my doctor suggested i be checked out at the hospital. Sure enough, it had broken but they didnt even suggest using pitocin until i was half asleep several hours later. My doctor let me choose when i got the pitocin, which i opted for right before i fell asleep. Woke up to bad cramps at 230a and my son was born at 920a. With my second child they broke my water at 8cm, my son was born 4 contractions and 2 pushes later. Im currently due to have my third child anytime now and i keep wondering wether or not my water has broke because im constantly feeling wet. they said no the last time, about a week ago, but its getting more persistent. ive had no regualr contractions, but i really wanna avoid the hospital until its go time…

I think I have PTSD from my labor and delivery experience. My water broke at 2pm and I wasn’t having contractions. I called my doctor and told her I wanted to walk to try to get labor started. She gave me 4 hours and basically threatened me and coerced me to come to the hospital. When I got there they did a vaginal examine without asking and then told me I needed pitocin which I did not want. I begged them to listen to me but my Dr basically said I was going to be responsible for my baby getting an infection so they started the pitocin drip. They gave me so much which made my contractions unbearable and I ended up getting an epidural. My baby was born vaginally 2 he’s later but I’m sure if my labor would have gone on longer my Dr would have forced a c-section. Very traumatic. My next birth will be a homebirth.

Hiya! First time Mum here, 25, who is very strong willed and has done my own research – much to my midwives avail! Waters went 54 hours ago now. I did have contractions for 5 hours at the beginning but they stopped. I have had a few weak ones intermittently but nothing has really started yet. Midwives keep pressuring about giving me a sweep or inducing me – they wanted to send me at 24 hours! Baby and me were checked yesterday (no VE) and everything perfect. Going to see midwife again this morning just the check babies heart etc although he’s moving well and I feel that everything is fine. So pleased I have read this – and the family who decided to wait nearly 3 weeks after PROM has reinstated my faith in my body does know what it’s doing and as long as I keep an eye on temp and babies heart and water colour I have a good chance of still having my dream home birth! There is nothing I want less in life than medical interventions such as induction, forceps, c sec etc! I am now 40 + 6 by scan so feeling positive about the wait that my baby and body are ready! I am usually so impatient in life but there are some things that are definitely worth waiting for – even if my family is trying to make me feel guilty that I am putting him at risk! Thank you! Felicity & Dave

Im 37 weeks and 2 days my water started leaking/broke on 12/14/15 it’s now 12/16/15 no contractions. I thought I had 2 45 minutes apart but nothing after to confirm it this is my 8th pregnancy and will be my 5th baby. I have a fetal dopoler and his heartbeat is still the same as it was at my last drs visit 130ish. I’ve been monitoring movements the best I can and they have seemed fine. I’ve also kept and eye on the fluid color it’s mainly clear sometimes I see like white discharge or a little yellowish tinge but they may be from urine on the pad. No foul smells etc.. but how long can i wait before i really need to go to the hospital of labor doesn’t kick in? I just don’t want to cause any harm to my baby but im trying to prevent being induced if not necessary. Its been just over 48 hours now so am I safe to wait it out a couple more days as long as i dont see any red flags or do I need to go on? I feel fine actually ive felt better the past couple days then I have in months.. please let me know what you think because very few people are truly educated on the subject and most all drs tell you to go on in i know mine did but i know that they would have already tried to induce me by now and I’m trying my best to avoid that i feel like my body will know when it’s time.. what do you think?

My water broke before the contractions kicked in. It was clear at first, and then at times tinged with pink. I don’t know if that’s bad, but my midwife said it was good. Unfortunately she had me come in after I slept that night and gave me a vaginal exam. I wish I would have know about not having these done for risk of infection. My contractions had started, but weren’t very strong. She said I was only at about a one, so unfortunately, she had to send me to the hospital. She said if I had progressed any, she would have been able to let me stay. I went to the hospital where they pushed pitocin heavily, but I staved it off for about 12 hours, before the nurse yelled at me, bullying me (everyone there was really weird, passive aggressive, and NOT supportive), and I gave into pitocin. They upped it to the highest amount fairly soon into it. I stayed on pitocin for 12 hours before I couldn’t handle it anymore (no sleep, contractions from hell coming every 30 seconds), and sadly opted for the epidural. I was at least able to sleep that night. I awoke in the morning to a nurse telling me I was dilated at about 8 or 9 and would soon have the baby. I was happy. Then the doctor came in, told me I was actually only about 6 or 7, my contractions were bad (they always stopped whenever she came in the room, she was so negative), and that the baby was going into distress and we had to do the cesarean. We sent everybody out of the room, and my husband and I cried. We had planned an unmedicated home water birth, had taken Bradley classes, had read books, prepared, and nothing prepared us for this nightmarish outcome. They took the baby away from me right away after he was born, didn’t even let me touch him. They brought him to me a few hours after he was born. There was constant monitoring of both me and the baby for the next three days we were held hostage there, and I barely slept, was in constant stress, and my poor baby was going through so much stress. Only when we finally got home were we actually able to rest and get a good latch for breast feeding. It was the most traumatic experience of my life. I am pregnant again now, 10 weeks, and am planning a VBAC, I’m doing all sorts of research, reading, watching videos, talking to friends, exploring my options for midwives. I’m hoping for a home VBAC. I’m 36. I know they automatically put you at “high risk”, so I’m hoping this isn’t a factor they consider highly when deciding if I’m eligible. At least I know now what to do if my water breaks. Don’t call the midwife! Haha. They’re required by law here in Florida to send you to the hospital after 24 hours. I will wait it out. Thanks for this info, I wish I would have found it when my water broke, but at least now I know for this pregnancy.

This is dangerous advice and I am so thankful my doula didn’t give me this advice but instructed me to go to the hospital immediately. After my water broke I called my doula and triage at l & d. Both told me to go in and get checked immediately. My husband decoded we had to put together the pack n play (I was only 34 weeks, so we weren’t quite ready for the twins to arrive…), and we got to the hospital about an hour, hour and a half later. When they hooked me up to the no Igor I was having contractions every 1-2 minutes. When they did the exam, my son’s foot was already past my cervix. If I had waited, I would have put all three of us at great risk. The son was feet first breech (often makes it hard for the cervix to dilate properly because feet aren’t as wide as butt/head), and there was great risk of prolapse. They immediately sent me in for a c section to prevent possible death.

I cannot be more emphatic when I say that you must go to your care center if your water breaks. It could mean life and death for you or your child/children.

Just to be clear, I am all for natural births. But modern medicine can help prevent tragic endings, too.

My water broke during labor and I had meconium and later, early heart decelerations. Although I was worried, the doctor and nurses weren’t and let me labor for 15 hours after my waters broke, resulting in a VBAC and a healthy baby (though he did need suctioning). I do wonder, however, after reading online, why they didn’t give me an amnioinfusion. It seems like it would’ve helped with both the meconium and decelerations, and I think it would’ve given me more peace of mind at the time.

I am reading this because my sister in law just had a C-section. Her waters broke and less than 12 hours later she was told her water levels are too low and baby’s head was not in the right place and baby was too big! Baby weighed 2.8 kilos. She was not even allowed to be induced let alone wait for labor to start. For my own second pregnancy my waters broke and there was no labor. I did not have any internal exams till rhe 3rd day. Finally I gave in only cause we had to make a decision. This was a VBAC for me. I was induced and 24 hours later my beautiful baby came into this world vaginally. I drank water like a fish and my water levels went up during the 3 day wait. Monitoring is key but internal exams are surely not of much use if not any use in the first 24 hours at least if not more.

I experienced this with my first, an stayed home for 5 hours but when nothing happened I became concerned an went in. Sure enough I was put on a 24 time limit, scared into pitocin at the 12 hour mark. Currently pregnant with my second ,this gives me hope if history repeats itself, I won’t worry as much. Thank you

I thought I’d done all of this research & that I was super prepared when my water broke, but I was so wrong.

Following a text book pregnancy with zero complications, my water broke in a surprising, carpet soaking, romantic comedy cliché confirming gush at approximately 10:15pm on my due date & being a first time mom, I stood in my bath tub & called to let the OB on call at the practice know. After several questions & and confirming that I wasn’t’t yet having contractions, he told me I needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible to be put on antibiotics for possible infection because I was GBS positive. I walked through the door of my hospital at 11:40pm & was put in a delivery room that rivaled most posh hotels. I excited to be placed in one of three new rooms with a birthing tub (I had really hoped to be able to labor in water). They did a bunch of tests, including the first of several cervical exams indicating I was only 50% effaced & a fingertip dilated. They immediately started pushing for induction with pitocin-citing a significant risk of infection with spontaneous membrane rupture. I told them I really wanted to try to have a drug free, natural birth if at all possible. They continued to stress that induction was safer but begrudgingly told me they would “allow” me to wait 3-4 hours to see if my labor progressed naturally. Within an hour I started having mild contractions about 8-15 minutes apart & decided to labor for a bit sitting on a yoga ball. I was doing fine. Contractions were manageable & there were no indications that my son was in any distress. After about 3.5 hours, they did another cervical exam & I had’t noticeably progressed. At this point they told me it was very important that they induce now & that I would not be able to labor in the bath because I needed continual fetal monitoring. After about an hour of goimg back and forth and being aggressively pressured to induce, I was administered pitocin via continuous IV drip. Within an hour, my contractions were coming fast & hard & had become excruciating. There whenever more tha. A minute or two between them & The yoga ball did nothing to help. Massage made things worse because I was hyper sensitized and bloated from the IV fluids. I tried to breathe through the pain for as long as I could, but after 5 hours it became unbearable. My legs would’t stop shaking & I was finding it hard to catch my breath during contractions. Around 8am They offered me an epidural “before it was too late” and in my exhausted state, I agreed. It took 4 tries to correctly place the epidural over the course of an hour & in the end it still didn’t work right, only being fully effective on the left side of my body-but it did allow me enough of a reprieve from the pain that I was able to rest for awhile between being poked & prodded & having 2 more cervical exams. Around 4pm they woke me & told me my son still hadn’t engaged in my pelvis & they were going to give me an extra dose of epidural meds to relax me more & help him descend. Within an hour I started to feel intense pressure to push. I pushed hard for 2 hours with little result. About an hour into active labor, I actually said something didn’t’t feel right & asked if it was too late for a c-section. I was emphatically told it was too late, which I later found out was bull crap. After 2 hours, I was told ” we’he going to have you push 2 or 3 more times & then we’re going to have to use the vacuum to get him out. I was never informed of the risks of using a vacuum or even given an option. After one pop -off, they were able to get my son’s head out, but his shoulders got stuck & the OB had to physically maneuver him out of my body, breaking his left humerus in the process. He did not cry. Suddenly there were 13 people in my room. I was crying and asked over & over if he was okay & was all but ignored. He was tested and found to be having O2 saturation problems and was immediately rushed to the NICU & put on a ventilator. We didn’t even get to see him for hours. When we visited him the first time he looked frail & broken & had a dusky complexion. It was the most intense, terrifying and heartbreaking moment of my life. They told us they expected him to be off the vent by morning. By 11am the following day, he was off the vent, but had begun having seizures. They ordered an emergency MRI and discovered both a slight bleed on his brain where the vacuum had popped off and extensive, catastrophic damage to his brain. His thalamus was 100% non-functioning and he had reduced activity in all areas of his brain and he was having regular seizure activity. They called it HIE, Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. Permanent brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation severe enough that they didn’t’t know if he would wake up or even survive. We were lucky & his situation falls closer to the spectrum of best case scenario given the extent of his injuries. He did wake up, he can eat on his own and has some intentional motor function. He also has Infantile Spasms, Myoclonic Seizures, Cerebral Palsy, Cortical Visual Impairment, difficulty regulating body temperature, and global cognitive and physical development delays. At nearly 2 years old, he functions as a 4 month old. I truly believe the massive amount of pitocin I received, coupled with an OB who failed to act upon obvious signs of fetal distress on the monitor directly caused my son’s injury & our lawyer & team of expert witnesses all agree. I wish I’d known more. I wish I’d had the knowledge to advocate for us in an effective way. I wish the hospital had’t been so aggressive with regards to induction. Birthing classes are’t enough. Parents should be provided with in Sept Labor & Delivery classes so we can walk into that delivery room armed with the knowledge we need to do what is best for our family. Hospitals need to stop pushing money saving, for profit agendas & start caring for their patients in a safe & nurturing manner. I will be having a mid-wife if I’m ever blessed enough to get pregnant again -that’s if I can get over the panic attacks I have when I just think about trying to give birth naturally again & Don’t put for a voluntary C-section. I wish the day my son was born was the happiest day of my life-but it was just terrifying and awful. No parent should have to go through that.

I want to stay home early labour, this will be my second child. With my first my water broke before conractions I called the hospital they told me to go in right away because infection, it scared me, I wanted a natural labour but they scared me into getting induced because my water broke. If my water brakes early this time I’m going to be staying home but once I arrive to the hospital when should I tell them my water broke If it broke earlier on? I feel they will try to take to baby away for unnecessary testing or try to give my a c section.

My water broke at 37 weeks in the middle of the night and woke me up; I’d had no labor signs beforehand. I was already planning a home birth and didn’t feel worried, but I did have the feeling that birth was going to happen faster. Contractions started after only a few minutes and my son was born six hours later. I’m now pregnant with my second child and wondering if my waters will break again to start labor.

I wish I had come upon this 2 years ago. I had wanted a fully natural birth with no meds at all.
I started leaking in the morning and went to the hospital due to the leaking and the random very strong I-can’t-stand-through-this contractions. (I was at work when this all started). At 9am (2 hours after being admitted and having not eaten anything since the night before), they finally tested me and found that my water was slowly leaking. A very high leak, they said. I asked if I could go and come back later when contractions were more regular (they were still pretty far apart) and I was told no because my water was leaking. I wanted to walk around to speed things up (I had read that walking was good to encourage labor). I wasn’t allowed until after they had 15 minutes solid of feed from my baby’s heartbeat. I couldn’t keep still for 15 minutes solid the entire time I was in there. (12 hours). They kept talking about Pitocin and how they would need to use it if I didn’t progress quickly enough and deliver the baby within 24 hours of my water leaking (it had started leaking around 6am). So about noon. I went to the labor tub (which is AMAZING and I recommend to everyone!!!!) for 20 minutes…when I got out, I was at contractions every 5 minutes. (So after 6 hours of water leaking, I was at 5 min intervals). That wasn’t enough for them, they wanted to speed it up to 3 minutes. So I got Pitocin. Around 2pm, I caved under the pain of medically induced contractions (which are more painful than regular contractions) and got something they say is similar to morphine and slept for an hour. (I was going off 4 hours of sleep from the night before, too. Hubby kept snoring and I couldn’t sleep on the couch and couldn’t sleep with him snoring) Then I woke up to lots of pain! Yay!! I was at 8cm and screaming and crying and I just wanted the pain to stop! I begged them for an epidural-the thing I never wanted to get since it can damage my baby and my back-because the Pitocin was causing such strong fast hard contractions that I couldn’t take it. (Mind you, I got to 7cm before I asked for anything for the pain and that’s only after they gave me the Pitocin after forcing me out of the wondrously amazing pain relieving tub to get the cursed Pitocin.)
Then I felt no pain at all!! It was bliss! They made me lay on my back, which they tell you not to do for your entire pregnancy and then make you do in labor! Ha! The doctor checked me again, and I was at 10cm. She broke my water to fully start the birthing process. My baby’s heartbeat went very fast as she was in distress most likely from not getting enough blood flow due to me laying on my back due to the epidural due to the Pitocin. She told me to let her know when it felt like I had to go #2, which was about 2 minutes after she broke me water. I gave birth (pushed baby out) in about 10 minutes. Very quickly. Her cord was slightly wrapped around her neck, so they quickly checked her and she was fine!
No tears, no stitches, no surgery, no infections.
We finally had our little bundle of love and joy!!! She is perfect and a very healthy, very tall 2 year old!! We are trying to give her a sibling, which is how I came across this.
I actually looked up if I was allowed to leave the hospital if I went in with my water leaking but not in full-on labor. I can’t find an answer. I mean, will they strap you to a bed if you try to leave before you give birth? Or can you leave if your water is leaking? They said I couldn’t leave, but what will they do to stop you if your water is slowly leaking and you want to go?
I really wish I had not gone in that morning, that early. But she is my first child, and that’s what they told me to do.

Really difficult to read every comment here but thank you so much for this article. I Ppromed 3days ago and I am 29 weeks as of today, absolutely no contractions and baby is fine per heart monitoring and scan, hospital wants me to stay admitted until 34 weeks at which point they will probably have a conversation about induction. I am thinking strongly about going back home as they have given me antibiotics, magnesium and steroid shots for the babies lungs and can do nothing else except monitor my temp for infection and wait to see if I have contractions, my question is, has anyone lost their water and still able to make it full term and did they make use of any vitamins, supplements or herbs?

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