Pregnancy often comes with a whole world of questions. Some of these are easy to answer, while others are a lot more complicated. With pregnancy come a lot of new terms as well. One of them is "water breaking", my "water broke", or the "breaking of the waters". This can be a confusing term as well as a confusing time. Knowing what it means, knowing when it happens, and knowing what to do next are all important.

What does it mean?
Doctors use this term often and rarely do they actually take the time to explain it. What it really is, is the rupturing or tearing of the sack that holds the amniotic fluid. There isn't actually anything that breaks, but the amniotic fluid (which is clear like water) is released from the body during this time. That's how the term came about.

Common Signs of Water Breaking.
Each woman is different. In fact, each pregnancy is different. One time it might feel or happen one way and another time it might be completely different. Usually it happens while there are labor pains, but this isn't always true. Sometimes it can feel like a gushing of fluid. Often this is the sort that happens at the store in the movies. Don't worry, it doesn't happen this way that often and while there are a lot of pregnant women who go to the store, I have never seen any one's water break there. It can also feel like a trickling. I have been told that this feel very similar to peeing your pants. Some leakage happens even slower then that and can just wet the panties or a pad.

What If I Don't Know?
You aren't alone. A lot of women don't know when their water has broken until it happens or they are told it happens. If you think your water might have ruptured then it is time to take care of a little business. If you are experiencing contractions and think your water broke then treat it like it has. If you aren't experiencing contractions then call your doctor right away to find out what he or she wants you to do. A very large percentage of women don't know. It is also likely that you will go in whether you think you water has broken or not and your water will break at the hospital. While it is one of the first questions they will ask you when you get in there, don't be afraid to let them know that you don't know or that you aren't sure. They are going to do an exam anyway and it will let them know if your water broke as well as how dilated your cervix is.

My Water Broke, Now What?
Once your water has ruptured it is time to act. If you are less then 36 weeks you need to call your doctor and head for the hospital. It is important that you don't wait because it is best if they can stop your labor. You are pre-mature and your baby will do better if he or she waits a little longer. If you are more then 37 weeks it is time to head to the hospital. If you doctor wants you to give him or her a call then do so. You don't have to rush, but it is important that you get there soon. If you are in active labor you should call 911. It is sometimes hard to know if you are in active labor or not. However, some signs that the baby is coming soon can be strong pressure in your pelvis, feeling like the baby is low down and coming, or feeling the need to push. You should never drive while you are having contractions or after your water has broken. If there isn't anyone there to take you and you have no one to call then call 911 so that you can be picked up in an ambulance. Contractions can cause major pain and distract from driving causing an accident. Don't chance it.

Don't Worry.
Often times it is hard to not worry about one thing or another while pregnant. However, it is important that you try not to worry. Whether you are worried about having your waters break, worried they might have, or you know they have, try not to worry. Even if you are early it isn't a cause for panic. After all, you can do all the what ifs in the world and it won't change a thing. Instead try to be patient, calm, and ready for whatever action needs to happen next.

My Stories.
Just because this is a topic where hearing how it happened for others can be extremely helpful here are my stories. With my son I spent the night in the hospital having contractions. The doctor said they were false labor and that I would go home and sleep (he gave me a sleeping pill) and when I woke up they would be gone. I went home, talked to family, took the pill, took a shower, and when I got out I sat on the toilet. As I pushed to urinate, I felt a squirt of water. It wasn't quite a gush, but was more then a trickle. I got up and went to wake up my husband and let him know we were going back to the hospital. Then I had a gush of fluid. I walked to the living room to let others know we were leaving and there was a second gush of fluid. All in all, there were three separate releases of fluid. My second pregnancy went very different. I had been having contractions, they had given me medicine to induce active labor, and I was in a lot of pain having very strong contractions. I was laying on my side and during a contraction I felt a very painful pop. No fluid came out until I rolled onto my back. At that time the fluids came out like a river and kept pouring out (so much that it filled the pad under me and ran onto the floor on both sides of the bed). It will never happen the same way twice.

Pregnancy can be a hard time, but don't worry about it. You will get through it and it will happen. Then you will have your own stories to tell. Your experiences will differ from others and your water could break at home or wait until the hospital. It could come in a huge gush or it could just trickle out without a lot of warning. It will all be okay!