It's the iconic we're-having-a-baby moment in movies and on TV: A pregnant woman's water breaks and she rushes off to the hospital in full-on labor. In real life, of course, it's rarely that dramatic. But your water breaking will be part of your labor and delivery one way or another. So what do you do when it happens?
But the question prompts others, too.
What does it mean when your "water breaks?"
The rupture of the membranes is the breaking of the baby's amniotic sac, and it signals upcoming labor, but not necessarily immediately.
How will you know when your water breaks?
It may be an obvious gush of water -- in which case you'll know for sure -- or a more subtle trickle that could be mistaken for urine or vaginal discharge. But if the fluid is clear and odorless and continues to leak, it's likely that your waters have broken.
Will your water breaking kick off labor?
Your waters can break before or during labor, but before is less common -- only about 10 percent of women actually have them break before labor starts.
And to address mommy2be33990's question, do you have to go to the hospital immediately?
Probably not, but the first thing to do is call your doctor. Tell him you think your water has broken and if you're having contractions -- he'll instruct you on what to do, as once your water has broken there's a risk of inflection.
Let him know if the fluid you're leaking is brown or green in color -- this could mean that the baby has had his first bowel movement (called meconium) while still in your uterus.
If you've given birth before, when did your water break and what was it like? Share with other first-time moms here.