How to break your water

How to break your water
October 14 08:25 2016

Most expecting mothers are eager to meet their little one and they countdown to the day they would eventually bring the baby into the world. But the wait can seem to be more than just 9 months when you are excited and anxious! Understandable, though, it’s not easy carrying around heavy weight in your belly for what seems like an eternity, what more sometimes the little one can decide to keep hanging in there even when the delivery date has arrived. It is the reason why some women turn to breaking their water to initiate labor and deliver the long awaited baby.

So many questions have been raised concerning self-inducing labor by breaking the bag of waters and it has become a common topic of discussion in expecting women’s chat forums. Many ladies want to know, should they do it? Why should they do it? How should they do it and what is the safest way of doing it.

For those women anxious to get into labor and have had about the “break your water” strategy, this is going to be a good and enlightening read for you all. We will get to the how to break your water part very soon, but for you to fully understand why people do that you have to understand the labor process as well.


What is labor?

Labor is a series of uterus contractions that come prior to giving birth.  The contractions are short and regular, with the goal of pushing the baby out into the birth canal. These contractions start off well spaced and they eventually come closer together as the cervix dilates. The pregnant woman mostly notices this process of giving birth after their water has broken but it starts way before. In fact, in the beginning, the contracts are far much spaced, inexperienced women just brush it off and assume it’s the baby kicking.


Why is labor sometimes induced?

There are times when a doctor or midwife may recommend inducing labor on a pregnant woman. Usually, it’s for medical reasons either meant to save the baby or the mother or both. To be specific, labor can be induced:

  • When the expecting mom is past their due date of delivery and labor isn’t starting. Usually, it is around week 42 of the pregnancy. The medical personnel formally recommend inducing in such cases.
  • When there is an infection in the uterus labor is induced to quickly evacuate the baby before it catches the infection. In such cases, the bag of water is kept intact until the very last moment when the baby is ready to come out so as to reduce the risks and chances of it getting infected.
  • When the baby is deemed not to be developing properly and sufficiently, health practitioners can recommend inducing labor.
  • Sometimes there isn’t enough amniotic fluid to protect and support the baby as it grows.
  • When the placenta separates from the uterus wall or when it’s seen to be breaking down.
  • When the expecting mother has uncontrollable diabetes or high blood pressure. Diabetes can result in high weight babies which can cause complications during birth, so labor is induced a week or two before the due date.
  • In pregnant women with incompatible Rhesus factor.


Now that you understand the reasons for inducing labor, we can go ahead and discuss how you can induce labor by breaking your water.


How to Break Your Water

One important thing every woman should know is that the cervix has to be fully dilated before breaking their water and initiating labor. When the cervix is dilated enough, the following ways can be used to break water:


  1. Stripping of Membranes

Your gynecologist or treating doctor can strategically move the amniotic fluid sac in the uterus in order to irritate the uterus walls and cause it to respond by contracting, once a contraction happens it can eventually lead to more series of contractions occurring and then the water will break thereby initiating the delivery process.


  1. Long walks

Walking can cause the baby to move down the pelvic region into the birth canal, depending on how it presses on the amniotic sac, it can cause the water to break and initiate contractions. The recommended maximum walking exercise is around 30 minutes per day.


  1. Engaging in sexual intercourse

People have the misconception that having sex during pregnancy can hurt the baby. Well they might be right in that sex can break the water and induce labor, but for a couple looking to speed things up, it’s a great option. Labor induced through sex happens after about a week of engaging in the sexual activity. Sperm contains substances called prostaglandins that are used to induce labor in medical facilities. So in order for sex to induce labor the man has to ejaculate inside the pregnant woman, however, sex is formally prohibited if the water has broken as this can lead the baby contracting infections.


  1. Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation causes the release of a substance called oxytocin, which is used to stimulate labor. The effect of nipple stimulation is based on the same produced when a baby is nursing.  However, this method might not be thoroughly effective as it can be difficult to stimulate the required quantities of oxytocin to induce labor.


  1. Food

There are certain foods that are said to have properties that can cause water to break. Spicy foods can irritate the bowels in such a way that uterus contractions are initiated. Fruits like pineapples are believed to provoke the body into making more prostaglandins, which in turn will induce labor. There are also herbs that can be mixed with food to break waters and induce labor. Primrose oil contains herbs that transform to prostaglandins, which causes the water to break and initiate labor. Other herbs like blue cohosh and raspberry leaves can also be used to initiate labor but they come with risks. They can cause massive diarrhea that can quickly lead to loss of ions and put the mother in a state of dehydration.


  1. Amniotomy

Amniotomy is a medical act performed by a gynecologist or midwife at a medical facility. The act involves the use of a piercing sterile tool to manually break open the sac and let the water flow. This procedure requires constant monitoring of the fetus as there are chances that it can get into distress. The procedure can also be applied to speed up the labor process if it has slowed down in women who entered labor with the waters still intact.


Things to keep in mind when breaking your water

If you are one of those women who are considering breaking their water and inducing pregnancy there are some things you should keep in mind so as to ensure maximum safety for you and the baby. Not all women go into labor after the water breaks, this exposes the baby to many risks since it is no longer protected by the amniotic sac and the cushion provided by laborthe waters.

Breaking the water before labor has begun itself is a medical condition called premature rupture of membranes. Women who have premature rupture of membranes are hospitalized to monitor and prevent any possible infections and complications that might arise from the condition.

Also, breaking the water before labor causes very painful labor, it is important to know this well in advance as some people find it hard to support the pain which will make giving birth naturally difficult.

To all women who enter labor with the water still intact, do not worry, as the water will break eventually before you give birth. The longer the water stays intact the better your baby is protected. Actually breaking the water right before giving birth is an ideal situation.


What are the risks of breaking your water and inducing labor?

There are risks that come with provoked breaking of your water, especially with home-based techniques. Before breaking your water and self-induce labor you need to understand the potential risks you are exposing not only your baby but also yourself to.

  • Delivering a premature baby who has not fully developed proper respiratory function. For a baby to be born with mature respiratory function delivery has happen after the 39th week.
  • The biggest risk involves preterm babies. Preterm babies are usually not in the birth position; a birth position is when a baby has their head down toward the birth canal. When a baby is not in the birth position there are chances of having a complicated birth that eventually leads to a C-section.
  • Breaking your water may risk of your baby’s umbilical cord coming out the birth canal before their head and tying around your baby’s neck. When this happens the baby presses on the umbilical cord, compressing it thereby cutting off the oxygen supply (before birth the baby gets their oxygen supply via the umbilical cord). This condition is called cord prolapses and it is regarded as one of the most dangerous birth accidents.
  • Manual rupturing the amniotic sac increases the chances of you and the baby contracting infections. The amniotic fluid protects the uterus and the baby from contracting infections especially bacterial infections coming from outside the uterus.
  • Excessive uterus contraction from uncontrolled labor induction can lead to the rupture of the uterus. A ruptured uterus results in dangerous bleeding and a possible miscarriage. In most cases, a ruptured uterus during pregnancy results in a C-section.


So in conclusion, there are many ways to break your water and induce or speed up labor but there also equally as many things you should know before going ahead with the procedure. The most important fact being that you should be as closest as possible to 40 weeks. Also inducing labor should happen only when the cervix is dilated. Some of the method mentioned above can work for some people and not work for others; it’s always best to consult with your doctor first before self-inducing labor.



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