The term “rupture of membranes” refers to the breaking of the amniotic sac that surrounds your baby.
This can happen prior to labor pains, at the onset of labor, or once labor is well on its way. Most of the time it will occur after labor has started.
Rupture of membranes after term (after 37 weeks gestation) is the most likely scenario; however, pre-term (prior to 37 weeks) rupture of membranes can occur and can have serious consequences.
When your “water breaks,” you will often have a large gush of fluid. However, sometimes you may feel a slow and constant trickle of fluid. It is important to contact your health care provider in either of these situations. Make sure to note the color of the fluid (from clear to green) and inform your provider. Green tinged amniotic fluid will often indicate the passage of meconium from your baby and perhaps indicate some fetal distress.
If your contractions don’t start on their own many hours after your water breaks, there is a risk for bacteria from your birth canal to reach and infect your baby. Your provider will therefore often induce your labor to get your baby delivered expeditiously. Due to the risk of an infection, your provider also will often offer you antibiotics if there is a long delay before your baby is born.
After your water breaks, if you feel something in your vagina, or see part of the umbilical cord at the vaginal opening, seek medical help immediately.