Everyone knows that labor isn't exactly a pleasant feeling (nor is pushing the baby out), but what about the moments leading up to the birth of your child? Does it hurt when your water breaks or are you pain-free until those pesky contractions show up?
If you've ever watched a television show or a movie where a pregnant woman's water breaks, you probably expected a pretty dramatic rendition when it came time for your own labor to start. In reality, it's not always a giant gush like the breaking of the Hoover. According to the Mayo Clinic, it can actually be hard to tell if your water broke or if you're just leaking urine (pregnancy is so glamorous). Additionally, you may feel a wetness in your vagina or on your perineum (the area between your vagina and anus), some intermittent leaking of small amounts of watery fluid from your vagina, or a big gush of clear or pale yellow fluid.
But pain? Not exactly. And honestly, you may not even get to feel it. The American Pregnancy Association noted that only one in ten women actually experience their water breaking naturally. It can make you leak urine, as your uterus is resting on top of your bladder, but generally, your amniotic fluid should be odorless. Which I guess could be painful in an embarrassing way, but hey, get used to being covered in pee, mama.
There's no indication that your water breaking is painful, but because it can happen once labor has already started, according to Mayo Clinic, some people may assume the rupturing is causing the pain. However, if your water has to be broken by your doctor, you may feel some discomfort. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists noted that since most women go into full on labor after their water has broken, doctors will often rupture your amniotic sac to get labor started. This procedure is called an amniotomy and requires your doctor to make a small hole in the amniotic sac with a special tool and can be a little uncomfortable. Your healthcare provider may also do this if you're already in labor, but your water has yet to break.
Although thinking of something popping and literally breaking inside you seems painful, the truth is, it's not a huge deal. Labor itself won't exactly compare to a great massage, but hey, either way, you get a pretty cute baby out of it. (Just keep chanting that during those labor pains.)