As the due date passes, some women may feel the need to induce labor on their own by breaking their own water. However, before considering this option, many wonder, “Is it okay to break your own water?” We consulted with experts to provide insight into this risky practice.
Pregnancy symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, and weight gain, can be challenging to handle, especially throughout the full 40 weeks. Because of this, many expectant mothers experience anxiety if their due date comes and goes without any signs of labor.
It’s been suggested that some women try breaking their own water in an effort to hasten the onset of labor. They may be concerned about whether this approach is risk-free and effective. While it’s natural to want things to progress quickly, breaking your own water is not a good idea. Doing so puts you and the baby at serious risk. Those of you who are expecting, please read on.
How And When Your Water Breaks While You’re Pregnant
Amniotic fluid forms a protective sac inside your uterus in which your unborn child can float. This fluid in the uterus protects your unborn child from shock, helps the fetus grow, and keeps things at a pleasant temperature. According to Birth Smarter CEO and creator Ashley Brichter, who teaches both in-person and online birthing programs, the amniotic sac may rupture naturally around the end of the third trimester, resulting in fluid leaking through the cervix and vaginal canal.
This is a sign that your due date is approaching since it indicates that your membranes have ruptured and your water has broken. As a rule, contractions will begin between a few hours and a few days after the water ruptures.
Ami Burns, a birthing educator, and doula based in Chicago and the creator of Birth Talk, explains that, contrary to popular belief (and the movies), your water does not always break before labor begins. Indeed, only about 20% of pregnancies end in the water breaking before the contractions start.
It will normally happen on its own during labor if it doesn’t happen naturally before contractions start. In fact, you may be far into labor, at the hospital, and fully dilated before it breaks, as Burns points out. Your doctor may decide to “sweep” the membranes away from the cervix or rupture them if the separation of the membranes from the cervix does not occur naturally.
Why Would You Be Tempted to Do It Yourself
People may consider breaking their own water to initiate labor or speed up the process. Some expectant mothers prefer to delay having their babies to avoid the possibility of induction at the hospital. Shoulder dystocia, placenta issues, infection, and fetal macrosomia are all associated with pregnancies that go too long, thus, there are good reasons for this.
Why You Should Not Break Your Own Water
It’s not a good idea to break your water on your own. Just the opposite, in fact; it often involves significant danger. To paraphrase Burns: “Let nature take its course” (unless there is a medical cause for your doctor to burst your water or induce birth).
Your baby may not be ready to be born if you break your own water, which is one of the major risks. Even in the final days and weeks of pregnancy, the fetus develops in important ways.
Moreover, the introduction of a foreign object into the amniotic sac poses risks of injury or infection to the developing fetus. Potentially harmful bacteria and viruses can be unintentionally introduced into the uterus via the birth canal. You could hurt yourself or the baby if you scratched or wounded yourself. In addition, it may be exceedingly unpleasant or even painful to put something vaginally at the conclusion of a pregnancy.
After your water has ruptured, you may or may not have contractions immediately. As a woman’s water breaks, labor often begins a few hours or days later. Nevertheless, spontaneous labor can begin swiftly and develop rapidly. You may not have time to make it to the hospital in time, in which case you’ll have to give birth at home or somewhere else.
Moreover, a complication may arise that necessitates medical attention that simply isn’t available. It may be difficult to give birth if the baby is in a breech position (meaning their feet are facing out).
Importantly, once the water does break, most doctors advise having the baby within 24 hours. Without this, there is a greater chance that the infant will get an infection.
Why Only Doctors and Nurses Should Break Your Water
Your doctor may decide to break your water in the hospital if your labor is not progressing. During an amniotomy, a tiny hook is used to puncture the amniotic sac. As long as you’re under a doctor’s watchful eye, it’s safe to do.
However, problems may develop if the procedure is performed in an unsterile environment or by someone who is not a medical expert. If the baby isn’t in the optimal head-down position, for instance, the umbilical cord may enter the delivery canal before the infant, which can cut off blood flow and necessitate an emergency C-section.
Safe Methods to Encourage Labor to Begin
It is possible to try to induce labor at home in a natural method and avoid the risks associated with medical induction. While it’s never a good idea to break your water, alternative ways exist to induce labor. (Ask your doctor for advice first!) Some of the following choices may meet your doctor’s approval.
Positioning your infant correctly with posture practice and gentle exercise. An individual can widen their pelvis and relax their cervix by bouncing, rocking, or rotating their hips on a birthing ball. Taking a walk, standing with your feet together, and doing pelvic tilts could also be useful.
Sexual activity may trigger labor. Female orgasms may stimulate contractions if labor is close, and sperm includes prostaglandins (the same stuff used in inductions) that soften the cervix.
Uterine contractions may also result from nipple stimulation, as oxytocin is released in response to sexual stimulation. As this could cause fetal distress or overstimulation of the uterus, most doctors recommend performing it under medical supervision.
The temptation to try to break your own water may be great, but it is not advised. It’s not safe, so don’t do it. Although it may be frustrating to wait for labor to start on its own, rupturing your membranes prematurely can cause serious injury to you or your baby and even infection in the fetus. Instead, have a conversation with your doctor or midwife about what steps you and your team can take safely to hasten the process, or if waiting a little longer is the best option.