It's the moment many moms-to-be wait nine months for: a rush of water running down your legs signifying that their baby is on the way. At least, that's what movies will have you believe. As most veteran moms will tell you, some women go into labor without their water breaking at all while others have a Niagra Fall-like flow. To further complicate things, it could happen while your asleep, leading people to wonder will you know if your water breaks when you're sleeping. After all, some people are really heavy sleepers.
Well moms-to-be, you can rest a little easier. Even if you can sleep through a hurricane, you won't wake up one morning to find you've given birth during the night.
"Mostly every female will know their water bag has broken, specifically if one is full term because deep and sound sleep is difficult during full term," Dr. Sujata Mittal tells Romper. Not surprisingly, women in their third trimester wake an average of 3.11 times a night, according to a study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing. There are many reasons a very pregnant woman can't sleep in the home stretch including they're uncomfortable, they have aches and pains, and they're going to the bathroom a zillion times a night. Add in your baby's late night belly acrobatic routines and you can just forget about Zs. If your water breaks you'll know because you're likely half awake anyway.
The other way you'll know your water broke while sleeping is simple: it's wet.
"If a woman's water breaks completely at one time, that amount of water will be enough to soak their bed and everything they have on," Dr. Lakeisha Richardson tells Romper. She says if you're unsure about whether you peed yourself or not after that initial gush, just wait a moment. You'll know it's your water breaking if it doesn't stop leaking. According to an article in Parents, once the amniotic fluid starts leaking it will continue to until all 600 to 800 milliliters of it empties out. That's roughly two to three cups of fluid.
Once you've established that your water has, in fact, broke, you'll want to seek medical attention right way. Timing is very important once a woman's water breaks for several reasons. "Once the amniotic sac breaks, the baby no longer has a barrier to protect it from infection," Richardson explains. "Additionally, if the women is Group B Strep (GBS) positive, her antibiotics need to be started as soon as possible." Ultimately, the longer those membranes are ruptured, the higher the risk of infection.
Pregnant women can take solace knowing that they'll likely wake up from their water breaking. Not many people can stand being soaking wet in bed. If you wait a few minutes after feeling the first burst of fluid and you're still unsure if it's your water breaking or not, you can always call your doctor or midwife for guidance.