In films, labour always starts with the waters breaking It’s either very dramatic or comical In real life, the waters don't always break before the contractions start In fact, it's usually the other way round It can even be hard to tell whether or not the waters have broken The baby’s head is positioned like a plug in the birth canal, and this can cause the waters to dribble rather than gush
If you notice or suspect that your waters have broken, call your midwife, even if you don’t have any pains
Most LMCs will wait between 24 and 36 hours after your waters have ruptured before inducing labour It depends to a great extent on how the baby is doing and on the colour of the amniotic fluid – the waters If the waters are greenish it will be because the baby has had a bowel movement, and that can be a sign that the baby is or has been under stress In this situation a CTG reading will be run to see how the baby is getting on
If everything looks alright, you will be asked to wait for spontaneous contractions to start within the next 24 hours
If there are no contractions after 24 - 36 hours, you’ll be induced
Oops! Your waters have broken, but no contractions. Call your LMC. It may not be time to have your baby just yet, but it is time for a check-up.