Natural Birth

Breaking Water

Hey! I'm a FTM, due in about 3wks. I have a question about getting your water broken... I know that not everyone's water breaks. What are the reasons for having the OB or midwife break your water? What are the risks of.having your water broken? Because I've read some people say that it's actually less stress on the baby if the water bag stays intact? I'm confused about all of this! TIA!

Re: Breaking Water

  • Having your waters intact allows baby to have a lil room to move if they aren't in an ideal position it also keeps you off the clock since once the water breaks you increase risk of infection. Sometimes they will break your water to kickstart labor or restart a stalled labor or if there is a lot of fluid between baby's head and cervix to speed up dilation. However, if the baby isn't positioned right when they do this it can lead to the head entering the birth canal funny and possibly getting stuck or a prolapsed cord.
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    A37licia
  • In my experience, contractions are much easier to handle with waters intact.  Although rare if cervical checks are kept to a minimum, breaking waters increases the likelihood of infection.  Depending upon your hospital, once your hospital breaks you are "on the clock" and you are increasing the likelihood of unnecessary interventions if your labor does not progress according to their guidelines.  With my first, my water broke as the first sign of labor and contractions were hard.  With my second, my midwife waited until I was fully dilated and ready to push, then she asked if she could break my water to check for meconium.  I was ok with it considering I was that far along.  
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    A37licia
  • I pray that my water doesn't break until I'm in active labor. Having srom for a first birth was, in my experience, a long and painful process that led to a malpositioned baby and protracted labor. You have no cushion, feel everything, and have a greater risk of infection. Keep that bag intact as long as you can.
  • image rooftop:
    Having your waters intact allows baby to have a lil room to move if they aren't in an ideal position it also keeps you off the clock since once the water breaks you increase risk of infection. Sometimes they will break your water to kickstart labor or restart a stalled labor or if there is a lot of fluid between baby's head and cervix to speed up dilation. However, if the baby isn't positioned right when they do this it can lead to the head entering the birth canal funny and possibly getting stuck or a prolapsed cord.

    All of this.  From what I learned in my Bradley class it is very rare to medically need your water broken.   It is better to let it break on its own during labor. 

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  • image Sea Conquest:
    I pray that my water doesn't break until I'm in active labor. Having srom for a first birth was, in my experience, a long and painful process that led to a malpositioned baby and protracted labor. You have no cushion, feel everything, and have a greater risk of infection. Keep that bag intact as long as you can.

    this was my experience too.  

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  • erb82erb82
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    With numbet 3, I actually requested that my water be broken at 8.5 cms. I was having a very hard time not pushing and with my first 2, I immediately went from 8ish to 10 when my water broke. I wouldn't request it earlier than that since it increases the chance of an infection and with some doctors puts you on a strict timeline for delivery.
    A37licia
  • image beccalee721:

    You already got some great advice so I just have my personal experience to add. My midwife broke my water at 9 cm and within 5 minutes I was ready to push and within 6 contractions my LO was born! I am a FTM so the only thing I knew was the "on the clock" issue of it breaking too early. So I wouldn't recommend having them break it early without a valid reason. For my next one, I'd like it to go the same way: get to the end and see if it breaks, and if it doesn't by 8-9 cm then have the midwife do it. GL!

     

    I had the same mindset for my delivery as well. I was at 9 cm and moving along nicely and the labor nurse suggested that if we broke my water, I'd probably deliver within the hour. I agreed figuring we were close to the end anyway so the "clock" wasn't going to be an issue. While waiting for the doctor to come, I stood up and my water broke itself. The rest of labor was very quick and LO was out after only 12 minutes of pushing. I would make the same decision again.

    A37licia
  • I typically have my membranes artificially broken at 9cm dilation. It's not medically necessary strictly, but I always have my bag of waters bulging through my dilated cervix, which is preventing baby's head from laying on it. Having baby's head on the cervix increases effectiveness of contractions towards dilation, since the baby's head and gravity are also now applying pressure to the cervix and stretching it. At 9cm, my OB will offer to break my waters for pain management purposes - it seems contradictory, since the contractions intensify after ROM, but it speeds up the dilation process significantly, so you spend less time in transition and more time in 2nd stage labor.

    So, while I get some people wouldn't do it, I would say that having them artificially ruptured when you are in transition/active labor is fine. I don't like it when hospitals rupture membranes as part of an induction, since one doesn't know if the induction will take, and OBs are generally uppity to perform a CS for 'failure to progress' once ROM has occurred.

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    A37licia
  • With both my babies my bag stayed intact even while pushing.  Both times my MW broke the bags right before crowning.  After I had my first I asked why they didn't just let the baby be born in the sac and my MW said that some people theorize that the baby's lungs might not fully clear.  She went on to say that plenty of babies are born in their sac without issue, but that's just a possible concern.  

    I can honestly say that while labor was intense, I really didn't think it was that bad, never entertained an epi, I have always wondered if leaving the bag intact was the reason.  

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  • My labor got super intense after my water was broken with both my kids. I would labor as long as possible w/o AROM.However, if my labor stalled or something, I would consider it as an option before pit. 

    And just to share my experience, I dilated to an 8 and still wasn't in labor with Dd. My MW's were over at my house, so we decided to break my bag and begin labor so I would be certain to have them there and not deliver unassisted!  Had my baby in my arms soon after. So in some circumstances, I think AROM could be beneficial. GL mama

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  • I pray that my water doesn't break until I'm in active labor. Having srom for a first birth was, in my experience, a long and painful process that led to a malpositioned baby and protracted labor. You have no cushion, feel everything, and have a greater risk of infection. Keep that bag intact as long as you can.

    This was my experience as well.
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  • My water didn't break on its own. I was 9cm dilated and my doctor broke it to get me to 10cm quickly. It worked and my DD was born within the hour. Yes, the contractions got a lot harder after that. I had been in labor for 30 hours and it wasn't bad but I was happy it was almost over.
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  • I also had my water broken when I was stalled for a bit during transition. I didn't want to have it broken before that, but got to the point where I had stalled for a while at 8 cm and I had done enough research about it to feel comfortable with them breaking it for me. Things got a little more intense, but I was also entering transition so I expected that. DD was born pretty soon after that. I have no regrets.
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  • thank you, ladies :-) I asked my midwife and she said she hardly ever breaks a woman's water, so that's good. thank you for all of the info.
  • Having your water broken can be dangerous and should only be done when absolutely needed.  Sometimes the vessels from the umbilical cord run through the membranes.  If you catch one with a hook, your will be bleed profusely.  When the membranes break on their own, they tear along the vessels making margins. 

     Also, it is much harder for babies to turn once the water has broken.  That means if baby is posterior when your water breaks, it will be harder for him or her to turn anterior. 

    Of course, you also looks the cushion for your contractions and also more opportunity for an infection to develop.

  • With my first, a nurse checked me, said I was at 9cm and they called the OB.  He came in, "offered" to break my water, which I agreed to since I thought I was at 9cm.  He broke my water, then told me it turns out I was actually only at 7cm.  I don't know if he knew that before he broke the water or not... I had a water birth, so that helped ease the contractions, at least.  I am hesitant this time to let the OB break my water before I'm actually pushing in order to avoid that kind of situation again.

     

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