If you're pregnant, one of the most exciting moments is when your water breaks. Depending on what happens next, you may need to go to the hospital or call your birth team. If it's not time for delivery yet, don't worry - there are a few things you can do to keep yourself comfortable until your baby arrives. Here are a few tips on what to do if your water breaks.
First, your water breaking is not a reason to go straight to the hospital. After your water breaks things could pick up or you could still have days or sometimes even weeks before labor starts.
If your contractions don’t start with your water breaking, it is NOT a good idea to run to the hospital, where they will likely put you on some kind of timeline for things to move and they will probably want to start interventions to “get things moving”.
Ever heard anyone share their story of “failure to progress”, this is most often due to the activity around you keeping you from being relaxed or feeling safe, people poking/prodding/monitoring you endlessly, and from being tied to a bed or monitoring system that doesn’t allow you to move freely.
The best thing you can do in this case is to stay home, stay hydrated, no sex, and move in whatever ways you feel led to. Moving around can help your baby get into position better and help your body open up the way it needs to. Rest if that is what you are feeling the need to do, there is no right or wrong when we listen to our bodies.
When your contractions do start, now or later, start timing them or check in with yourself on how you feel. How intense they are, and how close together do you feel them? Are they long, lasting a minute or longer, or are they short, lasting only around 30 seconds or less? Are they intense? Can you talk through them? Are you feeling pressure? Call your birth team to let them know what you are feeling and have whatever support you have planned come in when you need them.
If you are birthing at a hospital it is best to labor at home as long as you can handle it to limit the amount of time for doctors to push interventions. Ideally it is good to wait until your contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute or longer, for at least an hour, or also known as the 4-1-1 rule.
Bonus tip: Relaxing and allowing your body to do what it was created to do is the best way to get things moving and keeping them moving. The moment you start stressing or having fear about any part of birth is the moment that things can, and often do, slow down