One of the most notable ways of finding out you are officially going into labor is feeling or seeing your water break. Although, for most women, it’s not always as dramatic as it might be in the movies. Your water can break at anytime, and if you are hoping to head to the hospital clean and pretty, you may want to take a quick shower. But with safety in mind, you may wonder, can I take a shower after my water breaks?
Romper reached out to Dr. Mary O’Toole, an OB-GYN at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, who says that you can take a shower after your water breaks, but you should definitely let your doctor know first that your water has broken. Depending on your individual situation, taking any risk factors or complications into consideration, your doctor can give you the best advice as to what your next course of action should or can be.
Dr. Amy Peters, an OB-GYN with Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills, California, agrees, telling Romper in an interview that calling your doctor first is ideal because there may be a need for your to get to the hospital sooner than later. For example, says Peters, rarely there could be a cord complication, or the doctor may need to get you on antibiotics soon to protect the baby from any infections you might be carrying like Group B Strep (GBS), so taking the time out to shower may not be safe or ideal.
But if you have had a healthy pregnancy, aren’t feeling contractions, can feel your baby moving, and know that your baby’s head is down and deep in your pelvis, your doctor may give you the green light to take a shower before heading in. “If my patients aren't contracting, it is their first baby, and they live close to the hospital,” says Peters, “then I say it is OK to shower.”
With pregnancy, especially in the last few weeks, you may leak a little urine when you laugh or cough, so how can you tell if you just peed yourself or if your water has broken? According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), only one out of 10 women actually feel the gush of their water breaking, and unlike urine, amniotic fluid, which leaks when your amniotic sac leaks or ruptures at the start of labor, is an odorless fluid that can come in a sudden gush or a constant trickle. The organization further noted that you should refrain from any activity that could introduce bacteria into the vagina, including having sex or using tampons.
Once your water breaks, there is an increased chance of infection, explained OB-GYN Ward Murdock in an article in Today’s Parent, so washing up is OK, as long as you are taking a shower and not a bath. For most women, explained Baby Center, their water breaks after contractions have started at the end of the first stage of labor, but for about 2 percent of moms, it will break before contractions begin. The article further noted that the ideal time for your water to break is towards the end of that first labor stage, because the amniotic fluid and sac help protect you and your baby from infection.
If you are experiencing what you think is your water breaking, make sure to call your OB-GYN or healthcare team before doing anything else. If you get the OK from your doc, then shower away, but if your doctor is concerned, just head straight to the hospital. After all, the safety of you and your baby is the most important thing. Trust me, you’re going to end up having to take a shower after childbirth anyway.
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