Being pregnant is a fascinating, strange, and awesome experience that comes with a long list of new bodily sensations. One bodily sensation in particular, the amniotic sac rupturing, has many parents wondering “what does it feel like when your water breaks?”
When a woman feels her water breaking, it feels familiar and foreign all at the same time. Clear as mud? Let’s dig a little deeper.
What Does It Feel like When Your Water Breaks?
All women are different, as are their pregnancies. Because of that, details vary about what it feels like when a woman’s water breaks.
The following are common sensations and experiences a woman may notice and feel when her amniotic sac ruptures:
- A release in pressure
- Like peeing your pants
- Like a sudden loss in bladder control
- A pop (or two), followed by a gush or trickle
- A balloon of water that opens the labia and then gushes or trickles out
- A gush, which feels like peeing… that doesn’t stop
- Like your period has started
- A sharp, but brief pain accompanied by a pop
What Others Say
“My water broke during the last 15 minutes of birth. It literally felt like a water balloon popped in my vagina…which basically is exactly what happened.” Shiny L.
“My water broke as I sat on the toilet! I felt a gush and had to think for a minute….I was like I’m pretty sure I hadn’t started urinating yet!” Esmerelda O.
“Mine was a blast – literally! I was on all fours with my friend/doula on one side and the birth assistant on the other side. My water broke forcefully and sprayed amniotic fluid everywhere – I got my friend wet!! We say we’re bonded forever once you get drenched in your friend’s water breaking.” Heather B.
“I was using the breast pump to re-stimulate stalled labor and my water broke— I thought my pelvis broke in half. The pop was so distinct and sudden. I had a gush if fluid when it happened, much to the dismay of my rocking chair. 😂 After that, my labor immediately ramped up to almost unbearable intensity.” Leslie K.
“I had a high leak and wasn’t even sure it had broken. It was confirmed in OB triage. When my labor became more active I felt like my bladder was being pushed on and it was going to explode with pressure. Turned out to be a bulging forebag. I asked for it to be released and felt instant relief. Labor was still as intense but that feeling went away!” Lori K.
“Mine leaked out the day before, but it fully broke right after the triage nurse shoved her hand inside me without warning. I stood up and it gushed all over her shoes. Well deserved, I thought. 😊 ” Sarah R.
(Amazing photo captured by lifebykate.com)
Since a woman has rarely or never experienced this before, when her water breaks, it’s common for her brain to compare it to what she already knows. She knows what it feels like to pee. She also knows what it’s like when her period starts. As quickly as those thoughts come, right behind it is the new realization that this is something different. What she is feeling is her water breaking.
The size and location of the tear in the amniotic sac influences how much amniotic fluid comes out. Some women may feel a slow trickle of amniotic fluid, some a gush, and some may experience both.
If your water breaks, call your care provider to see what they recommend. Sometimes they want you to come in immediately, and other times they may recommend laboring at home a little while before coming in. Either way, check in to see what’s best for you and your baby. (They know what’s best more than any website could.)
What Does It Feel like to Get Your Water Broken?
Most women find the procedure of getting their water broken uncomfortable, if not painful. It tends to feels bad because women have to lie flat on their backs and have someone’s fingers in their vagina and cervix, not because the amniotic sac breaks. The vagina and cervix have lots of nerve endings, but the amniotic sac does not.
I’ve had my water broken for me twice, both when I was at 8 cm. The first time, I felt a lot of very warm fluid go everywhere and experienced extremely strong contractions immediately following. Having my water broken put me into the transition stage of labor, the part of labor that comes right before pushing.
The second time, after I experienced a slow leak of amniotic fluid, I asked my midwife to break my water in earnest. The procedure caused me to vomit, which caught me off guard. Again, it was not because she touched or broke my amniotic sac, but because I was flat on my back, massively pregnant, and her fingers were in my vagina and cervix. (By the way, strong labor did not follow, because birth does whatever it wants. 😉 )
One time I was at a birth where the woman requested her water to be broken. Surprisingly, afterwards her pain lessened and her contractions became more manageable. She had her baby within a few hours after the procedure. Everyone is different!
If you are trying to make the decision to break your water or leave things alone, head on over here for a great article about working with your care providers and making the best decisions possible. It’s SO GOOD and something I teach every childbirth class!
What Did It Feel Like For You?
Leave a comment and share your answer to the question “what does it feel like when your water breaks?”. We’d love to hear your story!