Let’s start with some anatomy... did you know that the uterus sits above the bladder? Aha! That explains so much... And within the uterus is a sac called the Amniotic Sac, that holds the baby! The Amniotic Sac is filled with Amniotic Fluid around your baby that keeps them comfortable and suspended. When the sac breaks open a bit, or a lot, the Amniotic Fluid gets released and its called, Rupture of the Membranes, or "breaking your waters".
So when you’re pregnant and you have to pee every 5 mins, there’s just a *bit* of pressure squashing down on your bladder... just like, a watermelon size water balloon... nbd.
And when you’re suuuuper pregnant, let’s say, within 2 weeks+ of your estimated due date, and you sit down, or stand up, or move in any way, big or small, you may find yourself peeing a bit without even trying!! Oh the joys of pregnancy #amiright
Now, when you're that close to your due date and you're reading into every. single. thing. as a sign of early labor, its easy to be confused as to whether that clear fluid dripping down your leg is you waters breaking, or just your own urine. ;) It can be difficult to tell the difference! You're likely well hydrated so your urine is clear and scentless- similar to your waters! And wishful thinking will automatically assume its waters because wouldn't that be great?! But let's slow down and see if we can determine exactly what it is.
Here are our two tried and true methods for figuring out if your waters broke or you peed yourself:
(in no particular order...)
1. Wait It Out. Waters. Don’t. Stop. One you pop, the fun don’t stop! Your waters will continue to gush, stream, trickle out no matter what’s going on. Urine will stop though! There’s an end to the stream of urine you’re outputting! So wait it out. Don’t make a judgment call right away. Check back in 15 mins a half hour- are you still leaking? Has it come and gone?
2. Put A Pad In. If your waters break on a dark surface like a wood floor or black leggings, etc, it may seem like they are clear. Though usually Ruptured Membranes are slightly tinged either red/pink, yellow/green, or even a bit beige/brown. You may see streaks of blood or Mucous too! So put a pad in your underwear! Once you can see the fluid on a light background, you can get a better sense of what it is.
Some people like to gauge the amount of fluid they feel/see as a factor. You feel a “gush” and you are certain it was your water. That can be a tricky judgment so we recommend trying the Wait It Out approach or the Put A Pad In approach to be sure. Its a small step compared to rushing over to the hospital! (We can discuss exactly when to leave for the hospital in another post!)
Do you have more questions about your waters?? We have answers!!! Join our Childbirth Ed classes to learn EVERYTHING you need to know about Ruptured Membranes. What to look for, how it should smell, what to note down, when to notify your provider, and more!
Oh also, you can always call your doula. ;) We're here for you and with you, every step of the way.