The breaking of the waters is one of the most tell-tale signs that you’re going into labor. In fact, you will most likely already be having contractions by the time you feel the gush (or trickle) of fluid leak out.
You should immediately call your healthcare provider when you feel your water break, and there are four things in particular that you will need to take note of before you call.
If you think your water has broken, the first thing you should check is the color of the liquid. The “water” – or amnionic fluid – is clear and colorless. If what you’re seeing is yellow, then it is most likely urine.
The second thing you’ll want to take note of when your water breaks is the odor. In addition to being colorless, amniotic fluid is odorless as well, so if it has a smell, it could be urine or some other discharge.
Contrary to what you may have seen on TV or in the movies, you most likely will not experience an embarrassing amount of gushing when your water breaks. But it is important to take note of how much fluid actually comes out, just in case there is cause for concern.
Be sure to take note of the time when your water breaks. Normally contractions start within 24 hours after the water breaks (if they haven’t started beforehand), so if too much time passes, you may need to be induced.
If you’re worried about remembering these 4 important items, have no fear; there is a helpful acronym to help you: COAT.
Even if you’re not 100% sure if your water has broken, you should still call your healthcare provider right away. They may ask you to come into their office right away, or go straight to the hospital for a check up.