In a scene in the film, Nine Months, Julianne Moore's character dramatically breaks her water at dinner, and after telling Hugh Grant, he says, "We'll get you another." Hilarious, but not normally accurate. Your water breaking can be more subtle and embarrassing, especially if you think you've just peed yourself. But do you pee when your water breaks? Is it just amniotic fluid gushing like a geyser from your vagina, or is it going to be like a potty-training toddler?
The amniotic sac that contains the fluid released when your water breaks is such a cool thing. First of all, it's been a cushy swimming pool for your baby since you first started producing the hCG hormone. When it comes time to giving birth, however, it must give way. The signs can be terribly difficult to notice, though. For instance, with my daughter, I had a very slow leak of amniotic fluid in the end of my third trimester, which put my unhappy pregnant behind on bedrest for several weeks. I had no idea I was leaking, because I had been peeing every time I sneezed or coughed for a few weeks already, so I was already at defcon one for panty protection at that point. There was no great way to tell that I was leaking amniotic fluid as well. But in general, do you pee when your water breaks?
I asked maternity nurse, Michele Lo of Brooklyn, New York if this is indeed the case. She tells Romper, "it's not likely, and if you do, it's because at that point, you're already pushing, and your midwife or OB-GYN hasn't yet manually ruptured the amniotic sac, which is rare. It may feel like you've urinated, but urine has a distinct color and odor, and most amniotic fluid is clear or streaked with a little bit of blood." She says that if you notice a green or brown tinged fluid leaking, call your OB-GYN and go in immediately, as this is a sign that the baby has had a bowel movement in-utero, and that is dangerous for the baby.
Lo tells Romper, "many, even most women will either urinate, defecate, or pass gas while they're in the throes of childbirth, and it's nothing to be worried about. But if you think you've peed your pants before you're pushing, and you didn't feel yourself pee, you should check for smell and color to determine what's going on, and call your doctor just to be sure. No one wants to call their doctor to ask them whether or not they've peed themselves, but OB-GYNs field those calls every day of the week, and they're not bothered by them, and you shouldn't be either."
With my daughter, she just continued pushing out her whole pool until my OB-GYN stripped my membranes at just over 38 weeks to really speed things up. It worked so well, she was born en caul, which means she was born with the amniotic sac still in tact around her adorable little squidgy body. If you're into signs and revelations, it's supposed to be a portend of a precocious, wily creature. Seeing as how she threw an animal cracker from a swing and hit her brother squarely between the eyes a few days ago — while swinging — I'd say they're right. But as for me thinking I was just peeing myself repeatedly? I mean, I was definitely doing both. However, if you also can't tell the difference, definitely call your provider for confirmation.